France's Areva said on 1 June that an initial internal analysis had been completed on two-thirds of the irregular findings in manufacturing records identified by a quality audit launched in late 2015 at its Le Creusot forge in Burgundy. "This analysis does not call into question the mechanical integrity of the components manufactured," the company said. Areva added that the quality audit had been expanded to include its manufacturing facilities in Chalon-Saint Marcel and Jeumont. The audit of the manufacturing records and further analyses is continuing at Le Creusot, Areva said.
The initial analysis of findings concerning nuclear reactors in France was conducted jointly with nuclear operator Electricite de France (EDF), which is providing this information to the French nuclear safety authority, Autorite de Surete Nucleair (ASN). "Areva's international customers concerned by the findings identified at this time have already been notified, Areva said."
The findings are the result of an ongoing quality review at Le Creusot forge, launched in April 2015 at the instigation of ASN, following the detection of an anomaly at the reactor vessel of the Flamanville-3 European pressurised water reactor (EPR) under construction in Normandy. The findings identified at this stage of the audit are related to manufacturing activities prior to 2012, Areva said. "Without waiting for the comprehensive results of the audit, Areva has already intensified its internal review procedures at the Le Creusot plant and has established additional measures to reinforce the safety and quality culture." Areva said it will provide another progress report before the end of this month.
ASN said in May that "irregularities" had been discovered in documents relating to manufacturing checks of around 400 components produced at Le Creusot since 1965. Around 50 of the parts "would appear to be in service in French nuclear power plants", said ASN, based on information provided by Areva. ASN had asked Areva and licensees concerned to submit a "list of parts concerned as rapidly as possible", along with an "assessment of the consequences for the safety of the facilities".