Keyword: autorité de sûreté nucléaire

Inspections highlight worrying safety lapses at French nuclear power plants

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The nuclear power station at Chinon in western France,  where a number of safety issues were identified. © Reuters The nuclear power station at Chinon in western France, where a number of safety issues were identified. © Reuters

A Parliamentary report recently called for improvements in safety at the country's nuclear power plants. In response, the state-backed power utility EDF, which operates the plants, insisted that safety is its top priority. But documents from the French nuclear watchdog the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire seen by Mediapart – but not by French MPs who wrote the report – reveal a different story. They show that procedures to prevent explosions in areas of several nuclear plants are deeply inadequate and in some cases non-existent. Pascale Pascariello reports.

Faulty electrical equipment in French nuclear plants poses ‘heightened reactor meltdown risk’, warns safety watchdog

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France’s nuclear safety agency, the ASN, has warned of the potentially catastrophic danger posed by faulty electric circuit breakers found in a number of nuclear power plants located around the country, and which could eventually cause the meltdown of their reactor cores. Recorded incidents have shown that numerous circuit breakers regularly failed to function since they were first installed four years ago. While the plants’ operator, utilities giant EDF, has played down the gravity of the problem, the ASN has ordered it to start looking for replacement equipment “as of now”. Jade Lindgaard reports.

Unveiling the deadly danger of low-level radiation

 © EDF © EDF

Last month, the French nuclear safety authority published a report in which it recognised that the existence of a leukaemia cluster around the nuclear waste reprocessing plant of La Hague, in Normandy, is "possible". While radioprotection experts in France and abroad have long regarded the dangers of low-level radiation as negligible, the study by the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) was highly significant especially because it rings an alarm bell for populations close to every type of nuclear plant. Patricia Brett reports.