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EPR facility under scrutiny for inert gas buildup

The US government has been investigating a Chinese nuclear power plant in Taishan, Guangdong province, after French energy company EDF warned of an “imminent radiological threat”.

EDF, which is largely state-owned, said it had been warned of a build-up of inert noble gases at a nuclear power plant in Taishan.

According to a CNN report, the EDF unit that designed the nuclear reactor (Framatome) had warned of an “imminent radiological threat” at the site.

The buildup of gases affected the primary circuit of the Taishan 1 reactor, EDF said. It added that it is a “known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the operating procedures of the reactor”.

China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) stated that operations at the station are in compliance with safety regulations and that the environment is safe:

“Two reactors have been operating under nuclear safety rules and regulations since the start of commercial operations. At present, regular monitoring data shows that the Taishan station and its surroundings are within normal parameters”.

Framatome said, “According to the available data, the factory is operating within the safety parameters”.

It added that it supports efforts to assess the situation and EDF has called for a meeting with the station’s board of directors to “present all data and necessary decisions” The plant is a joint venture 70 percent owned by CGN (wholly state-owned) and 30 percent of EDF (largely state-owned) Framatome’s warning included allegations that China’s safety agency raised acceptable limits for radioactivity around the power plant to avoid an expensive shutdown, according to a letter from the company to the U.S.

Department of Energy obtained by CNN, that for technical assistance to solve the problem. It is unused It is strange that a non-US company asks the US government for help when its partner – another non-US company – has not acknowledged a problem.

The US government has been investigating the leak over the past week and has held multiple National Security Council meetings, discussed the situation with the French government and contacted the Chinese government. It concluded that the facility is not at a “crisis level.

” The CNN report said there is no “serious security threat to factory workers or the Chinese public”. The Taishan Power Station serves the densely populated areas of Guanzhou and Shenzhen.

It features the French-designed third-generation Evolutionary Power Reactor (EPR). This is a type of pressurized water reactor; it uses water as both coolant and moderator.

The Tianshan 1 reactor was the first EPR to go into commercial operation in December 2018. EPRs will be deployed on the much delayed Hinkley C project in Somerset, UK.