France’s Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (ASN - Nuclear Safety Authority) said on 16 August that it had opened a public consultation on a draft decision governing the review of the manufacturing files of Areva NP’s Creusot Forge plant. The draft decision requires Electricite de France (EDF) to examine all the equipment manufacturing files installed on its operating reactors originating from the plant. EDF must send ASN the balance sheet of this review not later than two months before the restart of each of its reactors following a fuel outage. The review will continue until the end of 2018.
Areva NP in 2016 highlighted irregularities in certain files of manufacturing of nuclear pressure equipment manufactured by its factory Creusot Forge. Initial investigations led Areva NP and EDF to launch a review of all the manufacturing files of this plant at the end of 2016. In May 2016 some 400 irregularities had been found in 9,000 fabrication files for both nuclear and non-nuclear components during an Areva quality audit the forge, half of which involved nuclear components produced there since 1965 – Areva took over the forge in 2006. ASN said it will ensure that the review process is completed, in particular by inspections at the Creusot Forge factory.
In June 2016, ASN said it had identified steam generators that could contain steel with high carbon concentrations at 18 EDF power reactors (both 900MWe and 1,450MWe plants) and in October ordered EDF to carry out additional inspections on the steam generator channel heads of certain reactors, within three months. Areva submitted an action plan to ASN on 1 August 2016 intended to assure the quality of future production at Le Creusot.
ASN conducted several inspections of the facility, including a multinational inspection carried out through the Multinational Design Evaluation Programme (MDEP to examine the review method for the component files already assessed and those still undergoing assessment. In April, ASN informed Areva and EDF of the preconditions required for resumption of forging and said it will ensure that the action plan is complete before manufacturing restarts. ASN plans to increased oversight and monitoring the Creusot Forge.