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This blog is aimed at tracing the world news related to nuclear power development internationally and in particular countries. Being an independent resource, we accept all kinds of opinions, positions and comments, and welcome you to discuss the posts and tell us what you think.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

safety concerns may delay third-generation nuclear reactor

[For those who do not follow the industry, digital I&C has been a focus item for nuclear regulators. There are several articles in the industry press on the conversion to digital in the US nuclear plants.]


Paris - Nuclear safety authorities in France, Britain and Finland have issued a joint statement questioning the reliability of the new European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) currently being developed, the daily Les Echos reported Tuesday.

The statement raises concern over the reactor's command-control software which regulates its daily running and shuts it down in case of an incident. In its current state, the software cannot guarantee the necessary safety requirements, the report noted.

Potentially more problematic, the French nucear saftey authority ASN demanded that the French utilty EDF draw up an alternative plan for the EPR it will be running in the western French city of Flamanville.

According to Marcial Jorel, director of nuclear reactor safety at the Institute of Nuclear Safety and Radioprotection, "Either EDF takes our recommendations into account, or it must develop a new system, which will take years."

According to Les Echos, the Olkiluoto EPR nuclear power plant in Finland, which has already been delayed for three years and is scheduled to go online in 2012, may suffer an additional six-month delay because of the command-control problem.

French nuclear manufacturer Areva, which is building the Olkiluoto reactor, must now provide changes to its software and additional information by June of next year.

Both Areva and EDF said the concerns presented no unsurmountable problems.

"This is a process of step-by-step validation that is typical for projects of this kind. We have sufficient time to respond to the demands," Claude Jaouen, head of Areva's reactor division, told Les Echos.

However, the environmental group Greenpeace said the safety concerns expressed by the three authorities cast doubt over the entire industry.

"The nuclear industry is clearly showing its inability to manage the dangerous substances it manipulates and the waste it generates," Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France said Tuesday. "It is intolerable that the nuclear companies EDF and Areva continue their activities with impunity." (dpa)


Anonymous said...

Hi Everybody:

This dialog between builders and safety authorities a normal part of the process when you are building a new plant. For more on this issue see our blog post at the AREVA US blog: http://us.arevablog.com/2009/11/02/areva-clarifies-communication-from-european-regulatory-agencies-on-epr%E2%84%A2-reactor/

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