Paris : French co-owner of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant located in China’s southern Guangdong province on Thursday warned of problems serious enough to warrant shutdown.
The spokesperson for Electricite de France (EDF) said that the damage to the fuel rods at China nuclear power plant are serious enough to warrant shutdown. He said, it was a “serious situation that is evolving,” reported CNN.
The spokesperson refrained from direct call on China to halt operations at the plant, noting it was a decision for its Chinese partner and majority shareholder in the plant, the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).
CNN first reported in June that the French company Framatome — an EDF subsidiary which supports operations at Taishan — had warned of an “imminent radiological threat” at the plant, prompting the United States government to investigate the possibility of a leak.
The company had also accused the Chinese safety authority of raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the plant in order to avoid having to shut it down, according to a letter from Framatome to the US Department of Energy, obtained by CNN.
Meanwhile, the Chinese authorities have denied any danger at the plant, saying soon after CNN’s exclusive report that there was “no abnormality in the radiation environment” and the safety of the plant was “guaranteed.” Authorities declined to answer follow-up questions regarding Framatome’s warning to US officials.
In June, the Chinese nuclear safety administration acknowledged an increased level of radioactivity in the primary circuit in one of the two reactors due to damaged fuel rods — but said it was “completely different from a radiological leakage accident” because the “physical barriers are safe.”
But, the EDF spokesperson reiterated it was detecting an increase in noble gas in a reactor, and that the company had publicly clarified its position to the Chinese plant’s owner and operator, Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co Ltd (TNPJVC).
According to the spokesperson, EDF would have shut down the reactor in order to “avoid further degrading of the fuel rods, and carry out an investigation, and avoid further damage to the industrial facility.”
Framatome declined to provide an additional comment when asked about the EDF statement, reported CNN.