A similar scandal occurred in the construction of Hinkley B in the seventies. Stainless steel piping which was supposed to be welded and then X-rayed to ensure the welds were intact, were in fact reported to have been bodge-welded. An X-ray of a good weld joint elsewhere was used to falsely demonstrate the weld was OK.

A welder who had been involved with the scam owned up to the practice soon after the Chernobyl explosion in 1986. The Nuclear Installations Inspectorate visited his home and the workman offered to show them where the bodge welds were located. Instead of taking up his offer they threatened to prosecute him."

The welder in question had a rough ride from colleagues at the time but when asked about the issue recently said he stood by his story."

This was published in the leading Swedish newspaper in Finland.

Huvudstadsbladet Nov 11, 2009:

Relating to construction of the Finnish Olkiluoto 3 1600MWe nuclear power plant: "The pipes that form the cooling system around the reactor have been partially welded without any supervision. TVO and Areva are right now investigating how much of the work must be redone and what the consequences are."

"This pertains to the same pipes whose weld seams have been investigated before. This time the weld seams are not concerned but welding has been performed to cover cosmetic damages on the surface of the pipes. Welding work has not been, however, documented."

"If the entire primary coolant piping had to be redone, it would take three years."

The head of STUK, Jukka Laaksonen: "The timetable was unrealistic from the beginning. When TVO ordered a new reactor, no new nuclear plants had been built in Western Europe or US for more than 10 years nor did anyone have experience of a reactor in this size class. (...) Areva had no experience of running a large construction site. (...) The French were used to steaming on and finishing documentation afterwards while Finns wanted clear approved plans on paper before work could be started or continued."


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Page Updated 13-Nov-2009