March 20, 2019 / 4:28 PM / a month ago

France's EDF says earthquake had no impact on Blayais nuclear plant

FILE PHOTO: High-tension electrical power lines are seen near Blayais Nuclear Power Plant in Braud-et-Saint-Louis, near Blaye, France, October 9, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF and nuclear regulator ASN said on Wednesday that an earthquake registering 4.9 on the Richter scale in southwestern France had no impact on the Blayais nuclear power plant in the region.

Environmental group Greenpeace said the plant had still not applied anti-earthquake standards imposed by the French nuclear regulator ASN following the 2011 Fukushima accident and called on EDF to be transparent about the impact of the earthquake on the safety of the plant.

EDF which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, said the earthquake had no impact on Blayais, which has four 900 megawatt capacity reactors.

“The power plants are designed to withstand an earthquake twice as big as the most serious earthquake recorded over the last 1,000 years in the regions where they are located,” EDF said on its official twitter account for the plant.

A spokeswoman for ASN said the shock early on Wednesday was much lower than the earthquake level the Blayais nuclear power station was built to withstand.

“Regarding the post-Fukushima earthquake resistance works, the Blayais power plant must put its emergency backup diesel power generator into service by June 2020,” the spokeswoman said, adding that the regulator carries out regular inspections to make sure EDF complies with its anti-earthquake rules.

Blayais 2 has been offline for maintenance from March 15 and is set to restart on May 20. The three other reactors are operating normally.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Geert De Clercq and Kirsten Donovan

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