Nuclear power plants in France, the most nuclear dependent country in the world, are vulnerable to the catastrophic effects of a major natural disaster such as that which hit the Japanese plant at Fukushima in March. That is the conclusion of a stress-test study of the country's 58-strong reactor fleet carried out by the French radioprotection and nuclear safety institute, the IRSN, presented Thursday by the national nuclear safety agency, the ASN, which warned that "massive investment" is required for the recommended safety upgrades. Jade Lindgaard reports on the findings.
French utilities giant EDF appears increasingly concerned over Socialist Party presidential candidate's plans to reduce reliance on nuclear energy.
The spiralling cost of the new nuclear reactor at Flamanville, north-west France, is testing the professional reputation of utility giant EDF.
Mediapart can exclusively reveal that one of France's largest nuclear power plants, situated at Paluel, overlooking the English Channel in Normandy (photo), has recently been plagued by a series of disturbing incidents including contamination of staff and recurrent leaks of radioactive gas and seepage from cracked fuel rod casings. Mediapart has obtained access to documents and witness accounts that testify to a prevalent atmosphere of fear among workers at the plant which lies 60 miles from the English coastline and where the regularly-activated alarm system had to be re-tuned to lower safety levels. Jade Lindgaard and Michel de Pracontal investigate.
A court hearing in Normandy earlier this month provided a revealing insight into official secrecy over the dangers to which are exposed many of the 125,000 people employed in the nuclear industry in France, one of the world's leading operators and exporters of civil nuclear power technology. It centres on the case of a welder exposed to nuclear contamination at a local power plant, but whose employer refuses, like others in the industry, to consider the incident as a workplace accident. Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to an internal document from French utilities giant EDF instructing nuclear power plant directors when not to declare incidents of on-site irradiation and contamination. Jade Lindgaard reports.