French companies knew of Creusot forge flaws in 2005 but installed them in French and U.S. reactors anyway
Beyond Nuclear has today called for the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to require all 17 U.S. reactors with Creusot parts to shut down for thorough and independently verified material testing for carbon content and enhanced inspections of these safety-related components.
Letters sent to French nuclear corporations EDF and Areva by the French nuclear safety authority (ASN), reveal that the companies were alerted by the agency as far back as 2005 that there were major quality control problems at the Creusot Forge supplying their reactor components.
The companies contracted Creusot to manufacture safety-sensitive nuclear components for reactors in France and other countries, including customers in the United States. The letters were uncovered and published by Radio France investigative reporter, Sylvain Tronchet. His story will air on April 1.
The Creusot Forge remains under investigation for failure to control manufacturing defects introduced into large forgings for steel components and then covering up the mistakes in falsified quality control documents.
The defect, identified as “carbon macrosegregation,” and loss of control of the quality assurance process, has resulted in components with too much carbon content in the finished steel component that makes it vulnerable to cracking and tearing during reactor operations.
This comes on the heels of recent revelations by ASN about the Creusot Forge lacking “the safety culture . . . to produce nuclear components.” Read the rest of the press release.