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A third nuclear power plant unit is under construction at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Western Finland.
A third nuclear power plant unit is under construction at the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Western Finland.

The Prosecutor's Office of Paris has opened an investigation into suspected documentation irregularities at one of the foundries of Areva, the French supplier of the third reactor to the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Eurajoki, Western Finland.

Talouselämä reports that the foundry has manufactured a variety of components, such as a pressuriser, for the nuclear reactor under construction by Teollisuuden Voima (TVO).

An international group of inspectors paid a visit to the foundry in Le Creusot, France, after local authorities had discovered that the foundry had supplied steel components that failed to satisfy quality standards due to a high concentration of carbon to several nuclear power plants in France, according to Helsingin Sanomat. The authorities also discovered documentation irregularities that raised suspicions that employees at the foundry had helped cover up the manufacturing and quality problems for decades.

Hundreds of possibly faulty components are consequently believed to have been supplied around the world.

The suspected irregularities are serious, says Martti Vilpas, the head of manufacturing technology at the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK).

“[The documents] have contained irregularities. [Inspectors] have been unable to explicitly verify how certain test results have been determined. Some documents may have also been forged,” he says in an interview with Talouselämä. “The results may have been embellished to make sure they can be approved by officials.”

Vilpas reveals that a thorough inquiry will be conducted to determine whether the suspected irregularities have any ramifications for Olkiluoto 3. The inquiry, he estimates, should be completed by the end of January.

“No permits can be granted to the plant until the inquiry has been completed,” says Vilpas. “I still don't see how the inquiry could jeopardise the [scheduled] start-up of the plant at the end of 2018.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Juha Sinisalo – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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