An audit of Areva's Le Creusot plant in France, where equipment is manufactured for the European pressurised water reactor (EPR) has revealed production monitoring "anomalies", the Areva group said on 29 April. The anomalies are "currently being characterised... to establish any possible impact on product quality and shall continue in the weeks to come", Areva said. A process for information and consultation with the French regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire is also being implemented and a full status report will be drawn up before the end of May.
A technical committee has been set up with EDF Group, which operates France's NPPs "in order to characterise the findings", Areva said. "At this preliminary stage, no information has come to light that would jeopardise the mechanical integrity of the parts." However, Areva noted: "The audit being conducted indicates that these anomalies relate to actions carried out in the past. The organisation and procedures currently in place at Le Creusot no longer permit such actions today."
Areva launched the audit after an external review of the group's Creusot Forge plant last May by British-French firm Lloyd's Register Apave Limited. The firm was called in by Areva after anomalies were identified in the composition of the steel in parts of the reactor pressure vessel (RPV) for EDF's Flamanville-3 EPR under construction in Normandy.
ASN last year informed regulators in other countries involved in the construction of EPRs about the issue. Some of the RPV heads for units 1 and 2 at China's Taishan NPPwere manufactured by Creusot Forge "using a process similar to that used for the Flamanville EPR RPV", ASN said. Finland's regulator said last December that they had approved a report confirming that the RPV steel in the EPR being built at unit 3 of its Olkiluoto NPP "fulfils all quality requirements".