France may OK restart of 10 reactors following probe of Japanese parts

Kyodo

France’s nuclear watchdog may permit the restart of 10 of the 12 reactors it was checking after finding they use potentially weak steel components manufactured by a Japanese company.

The remaining two reactors are still under scrutiny by the country’s utility EDF, the Nuclear Safety Authority said in a statement on Monday.

With the ASN authorization, EDF will reactivate seven out of the 10 units as early as Dec. 31, according to Reuters.

The component in question was manufactured by Japan Casting & Forging Corp., which is based in Kitakyushu.

In June, ASN pointed to potential weaknesses of the Japanese steel components, with carbon concentrations exceeding standards. The Japanese part is used at 12 nuclear reactors in France, according to local reports.

EDF first conducted checkups on seven reactors that use the Japanese product and found four had higher risks of the excess concentrations.

The finding prompted ASN to order the utility on Oct. 18 to check the remaining five reactors, which were then in operation, earlier than initially scheduled.

France has 58 commercial nuclear reactors. At reactor 3 at the Flamanville nuclear plant, which is under construction, parts made in 2014 by Creusot Forge, a subsidiary of France’s Areva SA, were found to lack strength. ASN later discovered that the parts manufactured by JCFC also had problems.