EDF, the utility backed by the French state, said it was looking to hold an extraordinary board meeting of its joint venture nuclear power plant in southern China following a report of a possible radiation leak.
In a statement on Monday, EDF said it had been “informed of the increase in the concentration of certain noble gases” in the first reactor at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, which is mostly owned by China General Nuclear Power Corp. Noble gases they are inert gases such as helium, xenon and radon.
He added that such increases were “a known phenomenon, studied and anticipated in the operating procedures of the reactors” but said he called for the extraordinary meeting of the council to review all available data.
In a statement posted on its website Sunday evening, the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant said its two reactors were operating normally. «U [plant’s] environmental indicators and their environment are normal, ”the plant said.
He added that the plant’s second reactor had recently completed a planned overhaul and was reconnected to the power grid on June 10.
Taishan owns 70 percent of CGN, with the rest owned by EDF. It is the first nuclear power plant in the world to operate a European Pressurized Reactor – a Franco-German technology that had been haunted by delays and cost overruns for two decades.
The first reactor at the Taishan plant began commercial activity in December 2018, with its second reactor entering operation in September 2019.
Taishan, with a population of 1m, is about 75km west of the Pearl River Delta, the most densely populated part of the southern province of Guangdong. Hong Kong is about 140km from the power plant.
CGN and EDF are also collaborating on an EPR nuclear power plant in the UK, which is under construction at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
Citing unidentified sources and documents, CNN reported Monday that the EDF Framatome unit had recently informed the U.S. government of a potential “imminent radiological threat to the site and to the public.”
“Framatome supports the resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant,” Framatome said in a statement on Monday, adding that “according to the available data, the plant operates within safety parameters.”
The French government is following the situation, according to officials.
CNN said President Joe Biden’s National Security Council was following the situation but did not even think a “crisis level” had been reached.
CGN declined to comment. The Taishan municipal government and China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration were not immediately available for comment Monday, China’s public holiday.
Nuclear power is central to the ambitions of President Xi Jinping environmental purposes, which include achieving net carbon dioxide emissions by 2060.
There are about 50 nuclear reactors operating in China, which account for about 5 percent of total power generation.
More information from Qianer Liu in Shenzhen