Finnish Nuclear Watchdog Raises Safety Concerns about the EPR (European Pressurized REactor)


Finnish Nuclear Watchdog Raises Safety Concerns about the EPR (European Pressurized REactor)

14 May 2009 at 9:24:47 AM

So... the nuclear power plant site at Olkiluoto (Finland) is 50 percent OVER the original budgeted price of 4 BILLION dollars to construct it. And now the sTUK, the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority is threatning to delay this and future EPR projects. I looked at the STUK site and it appears to be the counterpart, in Finland of the US NRC (Nuclear Regulatory Commission).  Apparently STUK told Areva (which is doing the nuclear power plant) over a year ago about safety concerns and other issues.

Ironically, the EPR system is promoted by its makers as having superior safety systems compared to other nuclear reactors.

"I want to express my great concern on the lack of progress in the design of Olkiluoto 3 NPP [nuclear power plant] automation," he wrote. "Without a proper design that meets the basic principles of nuclear safety...I see no possibility to approve these important systems for installation," said the letter from Jukka Laaksonen, STUK's Director General. "The systems with highest safety importance are to be designed by Areva NP SAS but unfortunately the attitude or lack of professional knowledge of some persons who speak in the expert meetings on behalf of that organisation prevent ... progress in resolving the concerns."

The leaked letter was sent in December 2008. Areva has admitted this week that it has since sent some, but not all, of the requested documentation demanded by STUK and claims that the company will have done so by the end of June.

I know that the proposed two new reactors (that right now are NOT on the short list for corporate welfare loans) are of the type APWR (Advance Pressurized Water REactor). I wonder.. the design is NOT approved and I find it fishy that NRC is going ahead with the approval process BEFORE making sure the design is viable. But beyond that, if the NRC has found issues with the APWR, how does the public know? In the instance above, it was some kind of leaked letter from the regulatory commission. Does it take a leak for citizens to know for sure?

P.S. While I don't see where the meeting notices BEFORE the fact are, here's correspondence and public meetings related to the US-APWR Design Certification Application

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