French nuclear safety agency warns of Flamanville EPR meltdown risk

By Pascale Pascariello

French nuclear safety inspectors have discovered numerous faults with crucial safety valves in the cooling system of what will be one of the world’s biggest nuclear power plants under construction at Flamanville, on the Channel coast, Mediapart can reveal. The malfunctioning valves for the Areva-designed, third-generation European Pressurized Reactor could cause its meltdown, in a similar scenario to the 1979 Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the US. The inspectors’ damning confidential report, obtained by Mediapart, follows the revelation last month that the Flamanville EPR reactor’s vessel contained excessive amounts of carbon that could cause it to crack. Pascale Pascariello reports.

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France’s nuclear safety watchdog has found “multiple failure modes” that carry “grave consequences” on crucial safety relief valves on the European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) under construction at the Flamanville nuclear plant situated on the Channel coast in northern France, Mediapart can reveal.