NRC identifies US reactors with at-risks parts from controversial French forge but balks at site-specific inspections and testing for defects
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has released the names of 17 units at US nuclear power reactors as previously requested by Greenpeace and Beyond Nuclear that currently rely upon large reactor components (reactor pressure vessels, pressure vessel heads, steam generators and pressurizers) manufactured at the controversial Areva Le Creusot Forge in France. The Creusot Forge is currently under investigation in France and throughout Europe for allegedly falsifying quality assurance documentation for the large components with potential manufacturing defects that make them susceptible to cracking and rapid tearing under extremely high pressure during operation. The manufacture defects arise out of the introduction of excess carbon during the forging process of the large steel ingots used to cast the nuclear grade industrial parts.
Beyond Nuclear has submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the NRC and is also preparing a petition to the agency requesting emergency enforcement action to suspend reactor power operations pending inspection and material testing of the at-risk components. Nuclear regulatory agencies in Europe are similarly requiring unscheduled reactor shutdowns for inspections and material testing of the Le Creusot components at reactor sites in France, Switzerland, Finland and elsewhere.
Those US reactors most recently identified by NRC with at-risk Le Creusot Forge components include:
Reactor Pressure Vessels:
Prairie Island 1 & 2 (MN)
Replacement Reactor Pressure Vessel Heads:
Arkansas Nuclear One 2 (AR)
Beaver Valley 1 (PA)
North Anna 1 & 2 (VA)
Surry 1 (VA)
Beaver Valley 1 (PA)
Comanche Peak 1 (TX)
V.C. Summer (SC)
Farley 1 & 2 (AL)
South Texas 1 & 2 (TX)
Sequoyah 1 (TN)
Watts Bar 1 (TN)
(Areva is providing NRC with additional information on US reactors with Le Creusot steam generator channel heads forged from large ingots in January 2017)
Reactor Steam Pressurizers:
Millstone 2 (CT)
Saint Lucie 1 (FL)
The NRC presently maintains that the agency is “confident” that the identified US reactors do not have any “immediate safety concerns” and can continue full power operations without being subjected to unscheduled shutdowns for inspection and material testing of the at-risk components as is occurring at European reactor sites.
Commissioned by Greenpeace, Large & Associates has published an in-depth analysis of the potential hazard raised by the Le Creusot Forge controversy.