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Finnish authorities admit violations at Olkiluoto

29.08.2008 Lauri Myllyvirta

The Finnish Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) today published the preliminary findings of its special investigation in Olkiluoto. Greenpeace is now demanding an immediate suspension of the construction and a full and independent investigation into safety at the site.

In their assessment, STUK states that the supervision and ‘safety culture’ of welding at the plant did not meet the required standards and must be improved. STUK’s report also finds that Areva?s contractor, Bouygues, finalised mandatory welding guidelines months after welding of the reactor began and that Bouygues told workers not to report quality problems to inspectors.

STUK was forced to investigate safety at the site following the publication of confidential documents earlier this month by Greenpeace. The papers revealed that Areva and Bouygues were contravening basic safety procedures during the construction of the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR).

Greenpeace Nordic nuclear campaigner, Lauri Myllyvirta said:

‘This report confirms what Greenpeace has known all along – that Areva and its contractor, Bouygues, have a cavalier attitude to safety at the site.’

‘STUK’s own inspections would probably never have uncovered these problems, and it was only because of documents published by Greenpeace that these safety violations came to light.’

‘Now the authority that is responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards say that those standards are irrelevant except for the most critical areas of the build. This is a ludicrous position for a nuclear safety authority to adopt.’

‘An independent inspection is urgently needed to get a reliable assessment of the quality and strength of the reactor building. The inspection should be carried out by nuclear safety authorities from other EU countries and independent experts.’

More stories on the welding scandal in
Finnish TV: Double standards in Olkiluoto

Olkiluoto secrecy prompts immediate response – Bouygues continues safety violations also in France

Finnish TV: Olkiluoto construction workers coerced to shut up about safety defects

Open questions to Finnish authorities

Severe violations of safety requirements in Olkiluoto

TV report: Severe defects in Olkiluoto 3

Greenpeace has been covering the construction of Olkiluoto 3 and other problems at Areva plants through its dedicated nuclear weblog

For further information please contact:
Greenpeace Nordic energy campaigner Lauri Myllyvirta, tel: +358 50 3625 981