August 4, 2021

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Uncertainty about a leak at a nuclear power plant

Beijing finally spoke yesterday… to reassure the state of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant. In this complex, not far from Hong Kong, there are two of the only EPRs in service in the world.

But according to the American channel CNN, it was possible to spot a “leak” that raises concern. So the Chinese authorities confirmed that the levels of radioactivity are nothing to worry about. For its part, French group EDF, a 30% shareholder in the plant whose EPR technology serves as a showcase – despite some industrial disappointments in France or Finland – has reported “rare gases” in the primary circuit of the first reactor, after Decompose the coating of a few “rods” containing uranium pellets. A “known” and “expected” phenomenon, EDF reassured.

“Do not react hot”

The primary circuit is a closed circuit containing pressurized water, which heats up in the reactor vessel upon contact with the fuel elements. The procedure provides for these gases to be collected and processed to remove radioactivity before they are released into the air.

It is clear that the Taishan incident caused a reaction outside China’s borders. “No unusual discovery of radionuclides (radioactive atom, editor’s note) has been reported to date,” the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization, the organization responsible for implementing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, said yesterday from Vienna.

In France, criticism of EPR doubled by 24 hours. In the face of this, the Minister for Environmental Transformation, Barbara Bombelli, called for not making hasty decisions on future projects. “All energies have advantages and disadvantages, let’s look at them but not react too harshly to them,” said yesterday the Minister of France Inter, a longtime opponent of nuclear energy.

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