EDF has found more than 200 irregularities in materials supplied by the alloys division of French mining and metallurgical company Eramet for its NPPs.
Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN - Nuclear Safety Authority) said on 20 August that Eramet subsidiary Aubert and Duval manufactures many metallurgical products used in the composition of various materials, some of which are sourced by the nuclear industry. ASN noted that the irregularities require “specific management”, although they do not make any of the materials unfit for use. The Eramet group, in December 2018, told EDF it had discovered cases of “non-compliance” in quality management in its alloys division prompting EDF to immediately implement a control plan with ASN approval. ASN also asked other operators of basic nuclear installations to check on components that may have been produced using Aubert and Duval materials. Fuel cycle company Orano asked its subcontractors to undertake checks and is awaiting the results. As yet, no other nuclear operators have identified equipment with safety issues affected by the irregularities ASN said.
The irregularities identified mainly consisted of improper handling of some internal fault sheets from the manufacturing process and changes in laboratory data. To date, the review initiated by EDF concerns the verification of the good treatment of more than 4,500 internal fault sheets and the accuracy of more than 700 data from laboratories or the metallurgical department. This review covers laboratory tests for the period 2011-2018 and will be extended to the previous period. Investigations will continue in 2020.
The investigations carried out following the detection of these non-compliances highlighted the application, within Aubert and Duval's internal entities, of instructions aimed at modifying results in order to make them administratively compliant. ASN said such practices can be likened to fraud according to Article 40 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.