* Areva investigated a tenth of 6,000 documents
* Found 210 irregularities, more than half in France
* Customers in France and abroad have been informed
* Says no reason for worry or to close reactors
(Adds comments from Areva executive, details throughout)
By Geert De Clercq
LE CREUSOT, France, Jan 11 Irregularities found
in manufacturing tracking records for reactor components
produced by French nuclear group Areva's Le Creusot factory are
no reason for reactor shutdowns, a senior Areva executive said
After Areva discovered in May 2016 that some manufacturing
documentation for components made at its Creusot Forge unit may
have been falsified, the firm in October started a review of
6,000 nuclear component manufacturing files from the 1965-2013
This review of the archives of Creusot Forge, which supplies
the nuclear market with large forgings and castings, will take
until the end of this year.
Areva head of components manufacturing David Emond told
reporters at the site that the firm so far had investigated
about 630 component tracking documents and had found that 210 of
these included irregularities.
For each of these irregularities, which relate to the
manufacturing process of the components, Areva has made a
so-called deviation report.
More than half of these deviation reports concerned reactors
in France, he said. The rest were for reactors abroad, including
in the United States and China.
"None (of these reports) is cause for worry and there is no
need to close reactors," he said.
He said all of these reports had been sent to the relevant
customers, who would discuss them with their own national
nuclear regulator. He said the countries included the United
States and China but declined to name others.
On Tuesday, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)
released a letter showing that 17 of the country's nuclear
reactors have parts from Areva's Le Creusot forge.
The NRC has investigated whether the suspected falsification
of manufacturing documents posed any risks for U.S. reactors,
but it has found that the plants are safe.
Emond said the only reactor that had been closed following
issues with its tracking documents was French utility EDF's
Fessenheim 2 reactor, which was halted in June 2016
after irregularities were found in the manufacturing
documentation for one of its steam generators.
Emond said Creusot-Forge had now completed tests on
components similar to the ones used in the Fessenheim reactor
and sent a report to French nuclear regulator ASN.
"Our report shows the reactor can operate safely," he said.
Emond denied French press reports that Creusot Forge no
longer worked for the nuclear industry.
"Le Creusot continues to work for nuclear industry. We are
and will remain a leader in the foundry business for the nuclear
industry," he said.
(Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Toni Reinhold)