France's EDF sees no safety risks from Creusot components

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF reiterated on Thursday it saw no safety risks from nuclear plant components manufactured by Areva-owned foundry Creusot Forge, as it gave an update on regulatory checks.

The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen on the company's headquarters in Paris, France, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

EDF, which operates nuclear-dependent France’s fleet of 58 reactors, expects to meet its 2017 nuclear electricity production target despite the extensive review of the components currently in use in the reactors.

Olivier Lamarre, the deputy head of EDF’s nuclear fleet, also reiterated on a conference call that 2018 production was not expected to be impacted by the review, which should continue until the end of next year.

Fears that the review could lead to prolonged outages of the reactor - and to tighter nuclear power supply in winter - have contributed to a sharp rally in French and German forward power prices.

“There is no reason for EDF not to meet its output target in 2017,” Lamarre said.

Creusot Forge stopped production last year following the discovery of manufacturing flaws as well as the falsification of manufacturing tracking documentation and the facility remains closed.

French nuclear watchdog ASN ordered EDF on August 16 to carry out a comprehensive review of the documents, of which about 1,600 concern components which are currently in EDF’s reactors.

EDF is expected to hand over a complete review of each reactor to ASN two months before the restart of the reactor following a scheduled maintenance outage.

The company said on Thursday that it had submitted completed reviews for 12 reactors: Chooz 2, Paluel 4, Saint-Laurent 2, Penly 1, Cruas 3, Dampierre 3, Belleville 2, Tricastin 3, Chinon B3, Nogent 1, Gravelines 2 and Bugey 3.

“The twelve summary reports that have been submitted to the regulator to date, relating to 309 components, comprise 471 anomaly reports and 130 non-conformance reports,” EDF said in a statement.

“EDF’s assessment of the findings, which has been submitted to the regulator, shows that none are liable to compromise the safe operation of the affected components,” it added.

On Wednesday, French regulators demanded heightened supervision at EDF’s Belleville nuclear power station citing failures in safety standards.

Reporting by Bate Felix and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Jason Neely and Elaine Hardcastle