Keyword: Paluel

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.

Alarm bells ring at French nuke plant beside English Channel

La centrale de Paluel (photo EDF). La centrale de Paluel (photo 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.