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Open questions to Finnish authorities

14.08.2008 Lauri Myllyvirta

The information published by Greenpeace on Aug 13 shows that quality control has failed in Olkiluoto 3 and severe violations have gone unaddressed for months and even years. Areva, TVO and STUK have failed to provide meaningful answers to the fundamental concerns raised by Greenpeace, who are therefore calling for immediate end to construction work and an independent inspection of the whole project.

1) STUK has frequently suggested in the media, that the violations revealed by GP only pertain to the non-load bearing installation welds less critical to safety. The 11 welding guidelines (WPS) obtained by Greenpeace clearly demonstrate that this is not true, since 6 of them concern load bearing welds. Load bearing welds are needed to assemble the reinforcing steel nets that comprise the steel framework and for its earthing system, so they have been used ever since the welding of the steel reinforcement of the reactor building was started in mid 2006. STUK approved the guidelines for load bearing welds only in early 2007. Can STUK tell, when these welds were inspected? What documents and tests was the inspection based on, as the required welding guidelines had not been approved yet?

2) The WPS made for welding of the steel framework are needed for overlappings and cross joints of reinforcing steel, joining reinforcing steel to a plate, earthing system steel bar overlappings, joining earthing system steel bars to a plate and to reinforcing steel. How would it be possible to assemble the whole reinforcement of the first layer of concrete without any of these types of joints like STUK insists?

3) The welding guidelines that Bouygues failed to provide to the welders specify a large number of technical parameters pertaining to the execution of welding, the materials and the settings used, choice of which cannot be left to individual welders. How can STUK claim that the absence of the guidelines did not compromise the quality of the welds?

4) STUK was earlier unable to tell who wrote, checked and approved the latest welding guideline accepted by STUK. Who are these people and, above all, what are their qualifications?

5) According to statements made to Greenpeace, the production weld tests still have not been performed after August 2007, when STUK required them. Can STUK present production logs and results that show that the tests have been carried out in accordance with Finnish building code RakMK B4 and international standard EN ISO 17660-1? Has Bouygues assigned personnel to perform these tests? When have the first tests been made?

6) Bouygues has assigned Jacques Margalida as their welding coordinator in January 2008. Half a year later, the employees of Bouygues do not even know this person. Does STUK have any evidence that this person has taken care of the responsibilities of a welding coordinator? Is it possible for an Areva employee to work as Bouygues’ welding coordinator and how have e.g. liability issues been resolved?

7) E.g. in France, the nuclear safety authority ASN publishes information on major quality breaches online. Why does STUK still refuse to publish even a list of detected quality problems in OL3?