Nuclear, Reactors

NRC to Identify U.S. Nuclear Reactors Using Potentially Compromised Areva Parts

By Editors of Power Engineering

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has notified Areva SA that it plans to publically identify U.S. reactors that are using components from a forge that is suspected of falsifying documents.

The notice was discovered by Reuters, who noted French authorities have started investigating allegations of forgery relating to the quality of parts produced at Areva’s Le Creusot forge that are used at power plants across the globe.

NRC officials have determined the falsification of documents currently doesn’t pose any safety concerns to U.S. nuclear plants.

Areva has already identified nine U.S. reactors with Le Creusot parts to the NRC, but asked the agency not to name them due to proprietary business concerns. The NRC has responded it is not convinced the information has competitive value, and that it plans to release the names 10 calendar days after Areva received notice of its plans to reveal them publically. The notice was dated December 30.

Areva can still challenge the order, though a government source has told Reuters Areva doesn’t plan to challenge it.

Reuters contacted owners of six reactors that either use Le Creusot components or have them as spare parts, including NextEra Energy, Xcel Energy, Dominion Resources, FirstEnergy and Entergy, and all the owners have said the components meet their standards of quality.

Facilities that were identified as using Le Creusot parts include Xcel Energy’s Prairie Island plant, which has two reactor vessels manufactured in the early 1970s; Dominion’s Millstone station, which has a pressurizer used since 2006; and FirstEnergy’s Beaver Valley plant, which has steam generators and reactor vessel heads manufactured by Equipos Nucleares SA, which may contain components from Le Creusot.