An explosion sounded around 10 a.m. inside the Flamanville plant, in La Manche, but outside the nuclear zone, causing no serious injuries. According to the Prefecture, there is no nuclear risk.
An “explosion” occurred Thursday, February 9 in a non-nuclear zone of the Flamanville plant (Manche) but the incident, which did not cause serious injuries, was closed at midday, according to the prefecture. .
The production of reactor 1 was consequently stopped, according to the prefecture and EDF. The Flamanville power station has two reactors usually in operation and a third, of the EPR type, under construction.
This “significant technical incident” is “not a nuclear accident” according to the prefecture.
“Five people were slightly inconvenienced by the development of smoke. They are unharmed, ”the Channel prefect Jacques Witkowski told AFP, stressing“ the absence of any nuclear risk ”.
“A fan blew up. It is a mechanical problem. It started to overheat and this caused smoke to emerge and a fire, ”said Jacques Witkowski.
According to EDF, there was “a detonation” but “in no case an explosion”.
The incident was detected at 9.40 a.m. according to EDF and ended before noon, according to the prefecture. “All is finished. All the emergency services are starting again, ”Mr. Witkowski told AFP shortly before noon.
“There were no consequences for the safety of the facilities or the environment,” EDF also insisted.
“With the two recent fires which took place at the Cattenom plant in Moselle, this is the third fire on a nuclear installation in ten days”, for its part commented Greenpeace in a press release.
“ASN has itself declared that the state of nuclear safety is worrying” in France, recalls the NGO. “All this is part of a context of serious degradation of French reactors, more than half of which are affected by a hundred serious anomalies”, concludes Greenpeace.
The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) “is informed” of the situation, a spokesperson only told AFP.
The Flamanville plant is often in the spotlight of the media because of the setbacks of its EPR reactor under construction since 2007 and the cost of which has more than tripled since.
But the other two reactors in operation have also experienced technical problems in recent years.
The most striking was the release of non-radioactive smoke which occurred in August 2015 at reactor 2 and which had triggered an emergency plan for a few hours. But the absence of fire was later confirmed.
Reactor 2 then had to be shut down for five weeks at the end of 2015, early 2016, after the failure of a transformer which had to be replaced.
Already an incident in 2015
In October 2015 EDF also declared a level 1 in 7 incident at the Flamanville power plant after discovering that “a few” joints were not the correct ones on its two reactors in operation.
Commissioned in 1985 and 1986, reactors no. 1 and 2 at Flamanville produced 4.5% of French nuclear production, says EDF on its website.
They have a power of 1,300 megawatts (MW) each.
EDF presents safety as “the first priority” for the site teams, which are made up of 810 group employees and around 350 employees of service companies.
According to the energy company, “the accident frequency rate (number of accidents per million hours worked) amounted to 2.3” last year, against 2.6 in 2015. “Or five accidents resulting in a work stoppage ”, compared to eight the previous year.