Thursday, February 28, 2013

Two Workers Killed, One Serioiusly Injured in Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant in France

(UPDATE) According to AFP, three workers fell 4 meters (13 feet) when the platform they were standing on collapsed.


Cattenom Nuclear Power Plant is located in Lorraine, in northeastern France. It has four pressurized-water reactors.

Press release from Autorite de Surete Nucleaire (2/28/2013):

Accident mortel du travail à la centrale nucleaire de Cattenom

L’ASN a été informée cet après midi par EDF de la survenue d’un accident du travail dans le bâtiment du réacteur 4 de la centrale nucléaire de Cattenom.

Cet accident a causé la mort de deux personnes et fait un blessé grave.

L’accident est survenu vers 17h00 lors de travaux de maintenance.

Le réacteur est à l’arrêt pour sa visite décennale depuis le 9 février 2013.

L’ASN est en charge de l’inspection du travail dans les centrales nucléaires en France.

Les inspecteurs du travail de la division de Strasbourg de l’ASN se rendent sur place.

(Google Translation, with some funny words but you get the idea)

Fatal accident at Chattenom Nuclear Power Plant

ASN was informed this afternoon by EDF of the occurrence of an accident in the reactor building 4 of the nuclear power plant Cattenom.

The accident killed two people and one seriously injured.

The accident occurred around 17:00 during maintenance.

The reactor was shut down for a visit ten since 9 February 2013.

The ASN is responsible for labor inspection in nuclear power plants in France.

Labor inspectors of the division Strasbourg ASN go there.


Maju said...

Thanks for mentioning. It's very worrisome.

Anonymous said...

The reactor was halted for its ten year(ly?) maintenance.
It would be nice if they told us whether radiation was involved or whether it was something more conventional like falling off a scaffolding (as it just happened at ILLVA in Italy, one fatality, the third in four months)

Anonymous said...

A ladder fell for four meters onto the workers, apparently.
The folks running npps apparently work as lousily as steelmakers, though the consequences of a nuclear accident are more far reaching.

sylvie b said...

Thank you for your attention.
I am French, living in Tokyo, but this morning, nothing about this accident in French newspapers.

JAnonymous said...

Every 10 years, french reactors undergo their 10 yearly maintenance shutdown, for maintenance + refuelling + repairs. Look here

rough translation : (parenthesis are my additions)

In France, each reactor is inspected every 10 years. This leads to additional tasks during the shutdown of the reactor. There are three kind of tasks : refuelling, maintenance, and equipments upgrades.

According to EDF (french word for Tepco :P), 10yearly visits last for a hundred days, which is roughly twice the length of the refuelling shutdown. The tasks conducted during inspection are mostly done by subcontractors (up to 85% by volume) requiring up to 20 000 outside employees (i.e. outside of EDF). They are nicknamed the nuclear nomads (picture the desert tribes, here. One more thing about them, their mSv are not strictly enforced because they move from one 10yearly site to another).

Technical steps.
During inspection, there are three major steps:
- hydraulic inspection of the primary loop (France mostly has PWRs, which use two loops, a primary one that uses high pressure radioactive water, and a secondary that generates steam from the primary loop. This is summarized, not as easy in reality). During this inspection, pressure is maxed to 200 bars, vs 155 bars in normal operation.
- vessel inspection, using a robot that inspects all welds and does a surface check.
- containment stress test, that checks the concrete containment that surrounds the reactor itself. Pressure is raised to 4~5 times the atmospheric pressure using compressors.

Responsibility (the important part here)

During a 10yearly visit, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) is responsible, according to french law, for expressing an opinion on whether the reactor can last 10 more years or not. This is just an opinion though, and does not provide authorization for 10 additional years.

The other responsible entities are EDF, IRSN (radio protection and nuclear safety institute, government organization that bashes foreign nuclear accidents but covers french ones) and an expert commitee (GPR) of 30ish people chosen by ASN (feeling some conflict of interest here ?). The GPR includes current or retired nuclear executives, and experts from construction or human factor (lol?) domains.

Sometimes, during local information commissions, the group of scientists for information on nuclear energy (GSIEN, english WP page here realized independent studies different from EDF's ones.

@sylvie now, well if you look for information, look better:

and that's just a few...

JAnonymous said...

Heya Ultraman,

My previous comment was either lost in the ether or in the google spam folder !

Sightly OT, here's another news from greenpeace. The MOX fuel supposed to be shipped to Japan from France by Areva in March 2011 (postponed, duh) is nearing...

Not translated on their international website yet.
Rough translation below (note: notes like this are from me) :

Feb 26th, 2013
MOX: Areva is planning a new shipment towards Japan

The Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has been ongoing for already two years. It's far from over.
*But still, France is about to send a shipment of mixed-oxide containing plutonium (mox) to Japan.*
MOX is the even more dangerous fuel used in Fukushima reactor number 3.

*Greenpeace breaks this news today, the same way it broke the news of the previous shipment attempt (note: end of march 2011, AFTER the fukushima meltdowns)*

To date, we do not know the exact schedule of this transport, but by combining sources from UK, Japan and France, it appears that the convoy will leave the french port of Cherbourg in the beginning of April 2013.

*The very long MOX path*

Two british boats, the Pacific Egret and Pacific Heron, from PNTL company (Pacific Nuclear Transport Limited, co-owned by Areva) will be taking are of the shipment.

They are undergoing preparations in the english port of Barrow-In-Furness and are to move to Cherbourg shortly, in order to load the plutonium-enhanced fuel shipment bound for Japan.

The TN12/2 type containers will be transported by so-called "centipede" trucks form Areva factory in La Hague to the port of Cherbourg. These trucks are commonly used for spent fuel transport. Given the small (note: never small enough) amount of fuel assemblies to be transported, a single convoy is expected, which should happen by night as usual.

*France wants Japan to restart it's nuclear business* (note: because they are failing to sell any new construction besides the existing, late and costly factories in france and finland)

Out of the 54 reactors in Japan, only two reactors from the Ohi NPP, in Fukui prefecture along the sea of Japan coastline, have been authorized to restart (note: behave, lowly jellyfish). No reactor using MOX is supposed to restart, as they are located on active seismic faults (note: the march 2011 shipment was an order from tepco/fukushima3 for 32 assemblies, kepco/takahama3 for 20 assemblies and chubu/hamaoka4 for 30 assemblies, see french greenpeace website).

*In Fukushima, the nightmare is ongoing !*

Fishermen from the surroundings are only fishing in order to fetch samples for analysis of sea contamination. Citizens are fighting radioactivity on a daily basis in a desperate attempt to decontaminate schools and towns. In the Fukushima-1 power plant, hundreds of engineers and workers are trying to stabilize the situation. The SFP4 remains as unstable as always.

By sending their dangerous and useless shipment nevertheless, Areva and french TPTB want to nudge the japanese government in the direction of a restart of more reactors.

*This scandalous transport must be cancelled ! And if Areva doesn't take its responsibilities, the french government has to order it to do so.*


Well, under Abe, nuclear restart make a lot of sense. He would have needed that shipment anytime soon anyway. And since 70+% of japanese voters support him, that's probably a lot more than even 1 million antinuke protesters. Life's tough, shit happens.

JAnonymous said...

Btw my previous comment was about this 10-yearly visit in french nuke industry and how it works. You might want to flag it back up. Or not, your choice, hehe.

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

JA, I fished it out. Your comment was with the Finnish troll comment in the SPAM folder. I fished them both, LOL. Thanks for the info on French nuke industry practice.

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