Beyond Nuclear testifies on at-risk Creusot Forge components in US reactors, NRC backs off statement on parts for Beaver Valley Unit 2 
March 9, 2017
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The crisis in confidence for qualified safety margins in US reactors continues at 17 US reactors that have installed reactor pressure vessels, steam generators and pressurizers of questionable quality that were manufactured at France’s Creusot Forge now owned by AREVA. On March 8, 2017, Paul Gunter with the Beyond Nuclear Reactor Oversight Project provided his testimony before a Petition Review Board of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission in follow-up to its January 24, 2017 petition requesting emergency enforcement action at these U.S. reactors. The petition jointly filed by safe energy advocates asks that the NRC suspend operations at US reactors identified with reactor pressure vessel, steam generators and pressurizers manufactured by the AREVA-Creusot Forge in France until those parts can be inspected and material tested for "carbon anomalies" that can weaken the components to the point of failure and a nuclear accident. French nuclear regulators required the shutdown of their reactor fleet for inspections and testing as French courts continue to review allegations of Creusot counterfeit quality control documentation.

Drawing from a Greenpeace France report, Gunter elaborated on the manufacturing process that can introduce minute but significant carbon contamination into the steel ingots which if not subjected to strenuous quality control and quality assurance can change the material quality of steel and incorporate the weakness into the component. Beyond Nuclear further introduced a February 15, 2017 news article from the Pennsylvania publication TimesOnline where US NRC Region 1 Public Affairs Officer Neil Sheehan "confirmed" FirstEnergy Nuclear Corporation's Beaver Valley Unit 2, an apparent 18th reactor, to also have at-risk Creusot components. Mr. Sheehan stated for the record that FirstEnergy was delaying the installation of the Creusot replacement parts amidst the international controversy. The Petitioner's concern focused on AREVA's apparent failure to identify and track the Creusot components at Beaver Valley Unit 2 and failure to report  to the NRC as they had been requested.  Following the Petition Review Board hearing, Mr. Sheehan contacted Beyond Nuclear and the TimesOnline publication to say that he had been mistaken and that there really are no Creusot components in Beaver Valley Unit 2.  What Mr. Sheehan had originally "confirmed" for the TimesOnline was in fact misinformed hearsay. Exasperating. There is already enough international intrigue surrounding the forged components with forged quality assurance documentation. Now we have  an example of the NRC’s unsubstantiated remarks to the press. It does nothing to build confidence that neither the agency nor the industry are accurately capturing a factual record for critical safety margins that remain in operating nuclear power stations.

Beyond Nuclear continues its investigation into the AREVA-Creusot Forge controversy and impacts US reactors.

Article originally appeared on Beyond Nuclear (http://www.beyondnuclear.org/).
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