Keyword: Nuclear power plants
Faulty electrical equipment in French nuclear plants poses ‘heightened reactor meltdown risk’, warns safety watchdog
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.
President Sarkozy has decided to extend the lifespan of France’s nuclear plants beyond 40 years, says industry minister Eric Besson.
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.