The tests currently being carried out on reactor components manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot forge have so far revealed no safety problems, the EDF group said in a statement on 14 September.
These audits, which will eventually cover all 58 reactors in the French nuclear fleet, were requested by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) following the discovery of several anomalies in components produced by the Creusot plant. To date, EDF has sent the ASN files on 12 reactors (Chooz 2, Paluel 4, Saint-Laurent 2, Penly 1, Cruas 3, Dampierre 3, Belleville 2, Tricastin 3, Chinon B3, Nogent 1, Gravelines 2 and Bugey 3).
EDF classified the finding into three categories: “no deviations”, “non-conformance reports” when related to one of the manufacturer’s standards, and “anomaly reports” when components do not comply with contractually binding or statutory requirements. The 12 files so far investigated, which related to 309 components, revealed 471 anomaly reports and 130 non-conformance reports, EDF said. However, none of the plants reported malfunctions or reduced strength. Despite the anomalies highlighted by ASN, "the analysis of the findings … shows that none is likely to call into question the suitability for the safe operation of the components concerned”, said EDF.
In August 2017 ASN asked EDF to review all the manufacturing files for pressure equipment installed at its operating reactors forged at Le Creusot. Some 90% of the remaining 46 reactors have also passed an initial verification stage and are no cause for concern, adds EDF, which will continue the exhaustive review of Creusot Forge's parts manufacturing files until 31 December 2018. ASN will have to decide from these files whether to authorise the restart of each reactor after its scheduled shutdown for renewal of the fuel.