As reported by NucNet, flaw indications -- or micro-cracks -- not unlike those found at two Belgian reactors in 2012, have now been discovered at the Beznau-1 reactor in Switzerland, revealed by ultrasonic tests.
The Western European Nuclear Regulators’ Association has communicated the findings throughout the nuclear power industry, given the potential safety implications for reactor pressure vessels.
The Belgian nuclear regulatory chief, as well as materials scientists cited by Greenpeace International, have warned that the Belgian micro-cracking could implicate RPVs worldwide, and have consequently called for global ultrasonic testing as a safety precaution.
Beyond Nuclear et al. have called upon the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to require such ultrasonic testing in the U.S., beginning with the severely age-degraded Palisades atomic reactor in Michigan.
The Swiss nuclear regulator, ENSI, is requiring Beznau-1's owner/operator, Axpo, to do additional tests, to determine the size and location of the flaw indications, and to assess their safety significance. Beznau-1 is 46 years old.
Beznau-2 will be similarly examined, beginning in August.