US NRC investigates NPPs with parts from Areva’s Le Creusot forge

10 January 2017

The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has told France’s Areva that it will publish the names of US reactors that contain components from Areva’s Le Creusot forge, noting that the firm is suspected of falsifying documents despite the company’s claim that the information is proprietary.

Reuters reported that the written notice, dated 30 December, underscores rising tension between NRC and Areva after French authorities opened an investigation into decades of alleged forgery relating to the quality of parts produced at the forge and used in NPPs worldwide. The Paris prosecutor’s office opened the investigation in December alleging forgery, endangerment of lives, and aggravated deception, and thousands of documents dating from 1965 are being examined. Areva said then that it was fully cooperating with the investigation.

NRC has investigated whether the suspected falsification of documents poses any risks for US plants, but said it has found that the plants are safe. “At this time, there are no indications of any specific safety concerns for US reactors,” NRC spokesman David McIntyre said on 5 January.

Areva sent NRC the names of at least nine US reactors with parts from Le Creusot earlier in December, but asked the agency not to name them due to proprietary business concerns. Following pressure from environmentalists, including Greenpeace, NRC said it is not convinced the information is of competitive value, and will release the names within 10 days unless Areva challenges it. “The NRC does not currently have sufficient information to determine that competitive harm would result from releasing this information,” the agency said in the letter. Reuters quoted a US government source as saying that Areva has indicated it will not challenge publication of the names.

Reuters independently identified four reactors using components from Le Creusot, a fifth that may contain them, and a sixth that may have them on hand for future installation. All of the owners of the reactors said the components meet their quality standards and their reactors are safe, Reuters said.



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