China says radiation levels are normal around Taishan nuclear power plant after reported leak

China stated Tuesday that radiation levels around the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant are normal, following NCS’s exclusive report the United States authorities was assessing a reported leak on the facility.

“There is no abnormality in the radiation environment around the nuclear power plant. Its safety is guaranteed,” overseas ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian informed a information briefing in Beijing.

On Monday, NCS reported that the French firm which helps function the nuclear plant in southern Guangdong province had warned Washington of an “imminent radiological threat.”

The warning included an accusation the Chinese security authority was elevating the appropriate limits for radiation detection outdoors the plant to be able to keep away from having to close it down, based on a letter from French agency Framatome to the US Department of Energy, obtained by NCS.

Responding to the report on Tuesday, Zhao stated the Taishan plant was absolutely compliant with all technical necessities.

“China attaches great importance to nuclear safety and has established a nuclear safety supervision system that is in line with international standards and national conditions,” he stated. “China’s nuclear power plants as of now have maintained a good operating record. There have been no incidents affecting the environment and public health.”

However, Zhao declined to reply follow-up questions relating to Framatome’s language in its warning to US officers, particularly, its use of the time period “imminent radiological threat,” and the suggestion that Chinese authorities had raised acceptable limits of radiation for the plant and its surrounding space.

On Wednesday, China’s National Nuclear Safety Administration (NNSA) denied elevating the appropriate limits of radiation outdoors the plant to keep away from its shutdown.

Instead, the regulator stated it “reviewed and approved the relevant limits of specific radioactivity of inert gases in the reactor coolant at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant.”

“These limits are used for operational management and have nothing to do with radiation levels outside the nuclear power plant,” the administration stated in a press release on its official social media account.

Echoing earlier statements by the plant’s French co-owner Electricite de France (EDF), which is almost all proprietor of Framatome, the NNSA acknowledged an elevated stage of radioactivity within the main circuit in one of many two reactors attributable to broken gas rods.

“The increase in the level of radioactivity in the primary circuit is completely different from a radiological leakage accident,” because the “physical barriers are safe,” it stated, including the extent “is still within the range of allowable stable operation,” and the “operational safety of the nuclear power plant is guaranteed.”

The company stated solely 5 of the reactor’s greater than 60,000 gas rods have been affected, reiterating there isn’t any danger of “radiation leaking to the environment.”

Previously, the plant’s house owners have maintained that environmental readings for each the ability and its surrounding areas had been “normal.” In a press release Sunday, they stated the 2 nuclear reactors in Taishan are each operational, including that Unit 2 had lately accomplished an “overhaul” and “successfully connected to the grid on June 10, 2021.” It didn’t outline why or how the plant was overhauled.

Despite the alarming notification from Framatome, the Biden administration believes the ability is just not but at a “crisis level,” a supply informed NCS.

EDF holds a 30% stake within the power plant’s proprietor and operator, TNPJVC — a three way partnership with state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group.

China General Nuclear Power Group and three of its associates had been added to a US entity list in August 2019, chopping the Chinese firm’s entry to US know-how.

Framatome had reached out to the US to be able to receive a waiver that might enable them to share American technical help to be able to resolve the difficulty on the Chinese plant.

US officers have been monitoring the state of affairs and consider it doesn’t at the moment pose a extreme security menace to staff on the plant or Chinese public. But the priority was vital sufficient that the National Security Council held a number of conferences final week.

The Biden administration has mentioned the state of affairs with the French authorities and their very own specialists on the Department of Energy, sources stated. The US has additionally been in touch with the Chinese authorities, US officers stated, although the extent of that contact is unclear.

In a press release to NCS on Friday, Framatome acknowledged it “is supporting resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong Province, China.”

“According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters. Our team is working with relevant experts to assess the situation and propose solutions to address any potential issue,” the assertion added.

On Monday, French utility firm EDF stated in a press release it has been knowledgeable of an elevated focus of “noble gases in the primary circuit” of reactor #1 of the Taishan plant.

EDF stated “the presence of certain noble gases in the primary circuit is a known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the reactor operating procedures,” however didn’t elaborate on fuel levels.

Later on Monday, a spokesperson for EDF stated the elevated levels of radiation had been brought on by a “degradation of the housing of the fuel rods.”

The spokesperson affirmed that the levels of radioactivity noticed on the plant had been beneath the edge stipulated by the Chinese authorities, including the affected housings are the primary of three containment limitations between the rods and the ambiance.

The spokesperson famous the chance of a possible leakage within the rod housing was first mentioned following a deliberate refueling outage in October 2020 after preliminary measurements led to suspicions of a “lack of tightness” within the housings.

However, the spokesperson pressured that and not using a full evaluation, it’s too early to substantiate whether or not a whole shutdown of the reactor is required, including that EDF at the moment has no data relating to the origin of the rod housing degradation.