While the Taishan nuclear power plant in southern China is under surveillance after an incident on a reactor, Beijing wished to reassure Tuesday, June 15. The Chinese government thus estimated that the radioactivity around the plant was not “Abnormal”.
Monday, a sealing problem in the heart of a reactor of the plant, built with the group Electricité de France (EDF), had worried the experts. During the day, EDF and the Chinese operator CGN ensured that the gas emissions into the air did not exceed the authorized limits.
On Tuesday, the Chinese government, which spoke for the first since the incident, was also reassuring. “According to the information provided by the competent authorities, the current situation at the Taishan nuclear power plant meets the technical requirements”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters. “There is nothing abnormal in the radioactivity around the nuclear power plant and safety is guaranteed”Mr. Zhao added.
More generally, the spokesperson assured that “Chinese nuclear power plants are performing well and there have been no incidents involving the environment or public health”.
No hasty decision in France
While this latest incident could sound, for some, as a warning on the use of nuclear energy, the French Minister for the Ecological Transition, Barbara Pompili, wished Tuesday on France Inter that France does not take immediate decisions on possible future EPRs. “I believe that we should not have a reflection on our energy policy in reaction to something happening”, said the minister, who is also in charge of energy.
“Let us hasten to think. Don’t react like that to the first event that happens. Let’s think concretely, seriously. All energies have advantages and disadvantages, let’s look at them but do not react in the heat ”, pleaded the minister, longtime nuclear opponent. The problem revealed to Taishan arises when EDF, which is currently only building the only EPR in Flamanville (Manche) in France, is hoping for new sites for its reactor.
The country is playing it safe and wants to wait for the start of this site, expected at best for the end of 2022, to decide. The decision whether or not to build six additional EPRs will therefore rest with the next five-year period.