PARIS/LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - French utility EDF's oversight of Areva, which is supplying Britain's new Hinkley Point reactors, was brought into question in an internal document by Britain's Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).
Following the discovery of manufacturing irregularities and the falsification of documents at Areva's Creusot Forge foundry last year, French nuclear regulator ASN and several other international regulators inspected the site in early December.
In an ONR report about the visit dated Dec. 16, disclosed under a Freedom of Information request and seen by Reuters, the ONR said the nuclear safety culture at Creusot Forge fell short of expectations and warned about the implications for EDF's Hinkley Point project, in southwest Britain.
"ONR should consider the adequacy of EDF...HPC's oversight and assurance arrangements for Areva as a key supplier to the HPC project, given the performance shortfalls at (Creusot Forge) and the associated risks to (nuclear) components manufacture," the regulator said.
The ONR also warned about the continued use of correctional fluid on Creusot Forge documents, although it was prohibited.
The ONR on Friday confirmed publication of the document and said that it has since decided to implement a series of additional inspections of EDF and the supply chain to ensure all components are manufactured to the required standard.
An ONR spokeswoman said the regulator will also carry out a regulatory review before the end of the year to assess progress of EDF's oversight of the quality of its supply chain. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq in Paris and Karolin Schaps in London; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)