A joint nuclear power plant owner in China reported issues with the facility have become too severe to continue operating on July 22.
Electricite de France (EDF) confirmed multiple fuel rods were damaged at Taishan Nuclear Power Plant. This forced the operation to temporarily cease work in China’s southern Guangdong province.
An EDF representative confirmed the damage has not yet reached emergency levels.
“We have shared with them all the elements of EDF’s analysis and all the reasons why, in France, we would stop the reactor, so that they can make the decision that will be necessary as responsible operators,” the company said according to CNN.
The proposed suspension is promised to help prevent fuel rod damage from worsening. Give time for a probe that could “avoid further damage to the industrial facility.”
A final decision ultimately depends on the Chinese operator, China General Nuclear Power Group (GCN). However, if the facility was in France the country’s regulations would have already forced the operation to shut down.
EDF owns a 30 percent share in TNPJVC (operator of Taishan-1), a joint venture with the Chinese government’s GCN.
This is not the first time the nuclear power plant experienced a potential hazard.
In June, Framatome reported an “imminent radiological threat” at the same plant to the U.S. Department of Energy. The France-based part-owner and operator asked for American technical assistance to remedy the problem.
The company accused Chinese safety authorities of failing to stop the facility from operating. Officials allegedly modified the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the plant to let it keep running.
Local authorities admitted there was a high level of radioactivity but dismissed any perceived threat at the plant. Officials also claimed the situation was completely different to Framatome’s recollection.
After contacting both French and Chinese officials about the issue, the U.S. government decided the plant had not reached a “crisis level.”
At the time, EDF discussed “degradation of the housing of the fuel rods,” which was the alleged reason behind increased radiation levels. However, they said they did not have enough information to determine the importance of shutting down the plant.
Although EDF had not expressed any concern about China’s modified radiation limit, Framatome notified the department that it suspected the Chinese regime had intentionally altered the categories in order to keep the plant from being shut down.
Framatome revealed the limit initially met French safety requirements. However, Chinese officials later revised it to “more than double the initial release,” according to the broadcaster.