Reported leak at Chinese nuclear power plant could pose “imminent radiological threat,” says French operator

Reported leak at Chinese nuclear power plant could pose “imminent radiological threat,” says French operator
AP Photo/Bobby Yip, Pool, File
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A Chinese nuclear power plant is leaking gas and could pose an “imminent radiological threat,” according to the French company that co-owns and operates the facility.

Framatome, the French company that helps to operate the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, has reached out to the United States’ government urgently seeking help. The company, which is mainly owned by Électricité de France (EDF), contacted the Biden administration to warn them of the issue. According to the company, Chinese officials have allegedly started releasing an increased amount of the gas into the surrounding area without shutting down the facility.

The Daily Wire reports that the Biden administration has held multiple meetings over the past week to deal with the situation, but claims that it does not yet pose a “severe” risk to the population surrounding the power plant. Framatome disagrees, warning in a letter that there was an “imminent radiological threat.”

CNN reported

Framatome had reached out to the US in order to obtain a waiver that would allow them to share American technical assistance in order to resolve the issue at the Chinese plant. There are only two reasons why this waiver would be granted, and one is an “imminent radiological threat,” the same verbiage used in the June 8 memo.

The report added:

Framatome reached out to the US government for assistance, the document indicates, because a Chinese government agency was continuing to increase its limits on the amount of gas that could safely be released from the facility without shutting it down, according to the documents reviewed by CNN. When asked by CNN for comment, the Energy Department did not directly address the memo’s claim that China was raising the limits.

In the June 8 memo, Framatome informed DOE the Chinese safety authority has continued to raise regulatory “off-site dose limits.” It also says the company suspects that limit might be increased again as to keep the leaking reactor running despite safety concerns for the surrounding population.

According to nuclear scientist Cheryl Rofer, a gas leak “indicates some of their containment is broken.” 

 “It also argues that maybe some of the fuel elements could be broken, which would be a more serious problem. That would be a reason for shutting down the reactor and would then require the reactor to be refueled,” Rofer said.

The developing radiological situation comes just as the world continues its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China. Chinese officials have failed to provide transparency regarding the conditions of the initial outbreak, and continue to withhold critical information from international investigators over the coronavirus’s origins.

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