Stop Hinkley Press release

EdF documents show new nuclear safety risk

30 September 2010

Leaked documents passed on to a French campaign group show that the design and mechanics of the European Pressurised Reactor could lead to a Chernobyl-type accident.

The EPR is the reactor design proposed by EdF at Hinkley Point. The news breaks just as the second stage of the EdF consultation is about to close (on Monday).

The documents reveal that a combination of eighty-nine penetrations to the reactor pressure vessel and the type of metal used could produce leaks in the crucial component and lead to a devastating nuclear accident.

The revelations will cause more headaches for EdF. The reactor design has been criticised by UK , US, French and Finnish safety regulators over the complex control and instrumentation system which if impaired, could result in the failure of the shut-down system. EdF has also been slammed for its safety failures leading in one case to the contamination of a hundred nuclear workers. [Click here]

100 Tricastin EdF workers contaminated, 15 at Saint Alban, another leak at Romans-sur-Iseres (most detailed report): [Click here]

As the reactor would use high burn up fuel, the results of a serious accident could lead to the release of eleven times more radioactivity than from a standard Pressurised Water Reactor such as Sizewell B with obvious implications for public health. [Click here]  

Jim Duffy, Stop Hinkley Coordinator said: "EdF keep repeating their mantra about safety being their priority but actually these documents reveal they are prepared to allow a potentially dangerous reactor to be built. They were criticised two years ago for safety shortcomings that led to a hundred French workers being contaminated, leading to industrial unrest. I'm worried we'll see a repeat of these safety breaches over here."

Jim Duffy,

Réseau "Sortir du nucléaire" - Network phasing out the nuclear age

Press release 30 September 2010

EXCLUSIVE: Confidential EDF documents show serious accident risks with the EPR reactor. On Monday 27 September, the French Nuclear Phase out Network "Sortir du nucléaire" received internal EDF documents, showing that the design and manufacture of the vessel closure head for the EPR in Flamanville could lead to a Tchernobyl-type accident.

Worse still, according to a memo written by the Head of nuclear fuel from EDF in 2001 (1), a Tchernobyl-type accident is possible on all French nuclear reactors. The EPR is also concerned.

Several EDF documents show that the number of welds and the type of steel used in some parts of the reactor vessel at Flamanville EPR may cause leaks. EDF considers that the leaks may, in turn degenerate into a Tchernobyl-type accident. This type of steel and welds are part of the emergency shutdown system of the EPR and cover 89 points of entry into the reactor vessel.

EDF documents received by the network "Sortir du nucléaire" demonstrate that EDF engineers have designed parts of the vessel closure head for the EPR that not only endanger safety but also knowingly violate French law (2) relating to nuclear facilities under pressure.

For the Network "Sortir du nucléaire", the conclusion is obvious: in spite of all these issues, EDF persists in a policy that sacrifices security for profits! In view of the catastrophic consequences of an accident, this attitude is unimaginable and unforgivable.

Design flaws, increased toxicity of waste, untested technology, vulnerability to attacks (or even cyber-terrorism) ... Before the submission by EDF of a safety report for Flamanville the network "Sortir du nucléaire" wishes to remind everyone about all the problems with this reactor. In France Finland and elsewhere, it is urgent to put an end to the EPR program and initiate the transition towards a future without nuclear power.

Link to EDF documentation and our detailed analysis (all in french): More information about all the problems of the EPR (in french):

Press Contact : Steven Mitchell: +33 952 495 022


[1] Management Activities of Hearts Physics and Fuels, SEPTEN, Andre Berthet (20.12.2001).
[2] violations of the decree of 12 December 2005 on nuclear pressure equipment.




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Page Updated 30-Sep-2010