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Neglect of nuclear safety continues also in France

20.08.2008 Lauri Myllyvirta

The construction company Bouygues, who has teamed up with Areva to build EPR nuclear reactors in Olkiluoto, Finland and Flamanville, France, continues to violate basic safety procedures at both sites. Below is a partial but direct translation of the report of French authorities from the latest inspection in Flamanville.

ASN to management of Flam 3 construction project 25 Jun 2008
Summary of inspection

Inspection targeted manufacturing of the steel liner of the reactor. The inspectors scrutinized the organization of work and used X-rays to inspect the faults in welding. The inspectors also visited the area where parts of the liner had been pre-manufactured. Due to weak quality control of the subcontractor, EdF suspended work on the liner.

The quality control of the subcontractor is not satisfactory. Instead, EdF’s oversight has proven effective in general. Inspections revealed a lack of rigor in keeping a production log on welding. Construction codes have not been followed in welding.

A. Required corrective actions

A. 1. Corformity of welding production log with construction code

Semi-automatic feeding of filler material has been used where only fully automatic feeding would be permitted.

A. 2. Quality control plan of the liner

Manufacturing took place between January and May 2008 without a plan on quality control and without instructions concerning x-ray checkups

A. 3. Oversight of manufacturing of the liner and non-destructive testing

-Three different layers of inspections have failed to detect failures in welding
-A subcontractor has not respected certain parameters/requirements related to welding
-Certain repairs have been carried out by a subcontractor without notifying the principal
-Absence of a qualified person in quality tests

B. Other information

B. 1. Storage of pre-manufactured parts of the liner has taken place outdoors, which exposes them to corrosion