EDF to repair hydrogen pipes at Cruas nuclear plant

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

PARIS, Nov 18 (Reuters) - EDF said on Tuesday it would comply within the next three months with the French nuclear safety authority's order to improve the piping of explosive liquids at the southern nuclear plant of Cruas.

The nuclear safety authority ASN said in a note published on its website that it had detected rust on pipes transporting hydrogen, an explosive gas used to treat the water that cools the reactor, into premises housing key safety equipment.

EDF said it would take the necessary measures in the next three months to respond to the ASN's order, which includes an assessment of all the piping transporting explosive products, a calendar of repairs, and a long-term surveillance programme.

"The risk that we have in mind and that we have to protect against is the risk of a hydrogen leak, which would spill in those premises and trigger an explosion," Charles-Antoine Louet, head of ASN's branch based in Lyon, told Reuters by telephone.

"We have not detected an immediate leak or danger, however we have found pipes which had rust on the outside but you would need more than this for the pipe to burst," Louet added.

If EDF did not comply with the order the ASN said it had other tools it could use against the utility.

"We can force EDF to put money into a blocked bank account to pay for the works. And if we deem it as necessary we can take legal action against EDF which could lead to fines or jail sentences," he said.

Posted in |