France investigating nuclear ‘cover-ups’ — Analysis

The probe comes after the nation was pressured to close down half of its reactors amid a mounting worldwide power disaster

The French authorities is trying into whistleblower allegations {that a} state-run utility company tried to hide issues of safety at a nuclear energy plant, with prosecutors confirming they’re following up on complaints filed late final yr. 

Officers in Marseille launched an investigation into the alleged security issues final month after an nameless whistleblower stated situations on the Tricastin nuclear plant in southern France have been “endangering the lives of others,” French newspaper Le Monde reported on Wednesday.

An engineer on the facility, the whistleblower additionally accused officers on the plant of “harassment,” in addition to “violations of the prison code, the environmental code, the labor code and the laws regarding nuclear installations.” Whereas they stated that they had repeatedly warned superiors of these points – together with a mysterious energy surge at one reactor in 2017 and a flood inside the identical station one yr later – no motion was taken.

France shuts down 50% of nuclear reactors amid energy crunch

The largely state-run agency which operates the plant, Electricite de France (EDF), confirmed the continuing investigation to the Wall Avenue Journal, saying it’s conscious of the probe and would assist to “shed all crucial mild on the alleged details and thereby present the reality.”

Chatting with Reuters on Thursday, a lawyer for the whistleblower, William Bourdon, stated the grievance was initially filed in November, however famous that the next investigation will not be but concentrating on EDF straight. As an alternative, a probe “towards X” has been launched, permitting prosecutors to look into the actions of a number of completely different events.

The brand new investigation marks one other blow for the French utility, which has taken half of the nation’s nuclear reactors offline in current months on account of scheduled upkeep and refueling, and even outages brought on by corrosion and injury at some amenities. The spate of shutdowns coincided with hovering power costs throughout Europe and elsewhere, pushed partly by the raging battle in Ukraine, in addition to Western sanctions on Russian fuel and oil exports.

US seeks to ban Russian uranium – Bloomberg

Prices for repairs and inspections at French nuclear crops might exceed 4.5 billion euros ($4.8 billion), in line with current EDF estimates, effectively past earlier expectations. France derives round 70% of its electrical energy from nuclear energy, and has seen a leap in costs all through 2022.

Previous to the whistleblower submitting, the Tricastin nuclear website had encountered some issues of safety up to now, together with two separate uranium leaks inside a matter of days in July 2008, which led to a short lived ban on using water from the world for consuming, swimming and agriculture and contaminated 100 staff on the plant.

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