PARIS, March 31 French nuclear regulator ASN on
Friday published extracts of a decade's worth of correspondence
in which it had warned about safety issues at Areva-owned
nuclear foundry Creusot Forge.
Commercial production at the foundry has been halted since
late 2016 after the ASN discovered manufacturing irregularities
and forgery of tracking documentation. Two of state utility
EDF's reactors have been halted for months following
the discovery of problems with components manufactured by
In the first of several letters published by the ASN, a Dec.
12, 2005 letter to EDF highlights manufacturing irregularities
at the foundry which the regulator said raised questions about
the quality of its work. It also urged EDF to closely monitor
safety rules there.
The publication follows a report by radio station France
Inter which said EDF and its supplier Areva had allowed Creusot
Forge to manufacture the base and cover for the reactor vessel
in Flamanville, Normandy, despite the ASN's warnings.
Despite several more warnings in following years, Creusot
Forge manufactured the parts, which were installed in the
reactor in 2014. In 2015, Areva finally discovered that there
was a problem with excessive carbon concentrations in the
components. Such concentrations can weaken steel.
The ASN now needs to rule on whether the reactor - which is
due to be completed late next year - could function safely
despite these weak spots. The ASN on Friday said it would rule
on the issue "this summer", pushing back an earlier deadline for
a ruling by mid-2007.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Andrew Callus)