Environmental Science

French Firm Warns of Potential “Imminent Radiological Threat” at Nuclear Power Plant in China

French Firm Warns of Potential “Imminent Radiological Threat” at Nuclear Power Plant in China

A French nuclear agency has told the U.S. government that a power plant in China could be an “impending radiological threat” following reports of a radioactive gas leak, according to U.S. officials and documents reviewed by CNN. The extent of the problem is not clear, but the situation is not currently known to be in a “crisis stage”. Furthermore, the situation does not currently pose a threat to the safety of plant workers or the public.

The issue appears to be related to the installation of massive gas at reactor N-1 at the Taishan nuclear power plant in China’s southern Guangdong province. The French company Electricit de France (EDF) said in a statement that it was 30 percent owned by the plant, adding that it was aware of the growth of certain giant gases in the primary circuit of the reactor N ° 1.

However, they added that the presence of gases in the primary circuit is “a familiar phenomenon, studied and supplied to the reactor operating system.” The EDF has called for a meeting with its Chinese partner to review the plant’s data. Although the power plant was allowed to emit a limited amount of gas into the surrounding environment, some suspected that too much was being leaked, indicating that there might have been problems earlier.

EDF-affiliated FrameTom, which provides nuclear equipment and services, has reached out to the U.S. Department of Energy over concerns that Chinese security authorities are raising radiation detection limits outside the Tashan nuclear power plant to prevent it from being completely shut down. “The situation is an impending radiological threat to the site and the public, and FrameTom urgently requests technical data and assistance for the need to bring the plant back to normal operation,” according to a June memo from CNN. 

FrameTom has since publicly stated that it is working to resolve a “performance issue” at the Taishan nuclear power plant, but the details were otherwise thin. The company said in a statement on June 14, “FrameTom is supporting the resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong Province, China.”