Five French units to undergo steam generator checks

The French nuclear safety authority has requested five of EDF’s nuclear power units are taken offline for additional inspections on their steam generators within the next three months. The steel in parts of those components has been found to contain high concentrations of carbon.

The upper and bottom heads of the reactor pressure vessel for the EPR under construction at Flamanville 3 were manufactured at Areva’s Le Creusot facility in September 2006 and January 2007, respectively. A high carbon content in those parts prompted Areva to review the company’s quality management process in 2015 for some 400 heavy steel components made at the Creusot Forge plant since 1965.

These inspections, it noted, have already been conducted or are in progress during scheduled outages at seven of the 12 reactors.

ASN now requires inspections at the remaining five units – Civaux unit 1, Fessenheim unit 1, Gravelines unit 4, and Tricastin units 2 and 4 – are carried out within the next three months. It says the inspections, which can only be conducted when the reactors are offline, must be performed “without waiting for the scheduled refuelling outage of these reactors”.

Courtesy WNN