According to reports, China has admitted that “about five” of the fuel rods in the reactor are damaged, but the plant is said to be capable of operating safely with up to 0.25% of its 60,000 fuel rods, or 150, damaged. French nuclear energy company Framatome, owned by Electricity of France (EDF), which controls a stake in the plant and helps operate it, has meanwhile stated the situation is caused by a degradation of the fuel rods’ housings within the reactor. EDF, Framatome’s parent company, holds a 30% stake in the plant alongside the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN), which controls the other 70%.
The New York Times reported that experts said such build-ups of radioactive gasses are often caused by “poor design, manufacturing, or management.” Based on somewhat conflicting statements, it’s unclear how dangerous the situation may currently be in Taishan.
Taishan is located in Guangdong province in southern China and is close to several major metropolises such as Macau, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and the major industrial hub of Shenzhen. Obviously, a nuclear accident in the area would cause an immense health crisis. Four of the surrounding cities (Dongguan, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou) are among the top 50 most populated cities in the world, with close to 40 million people between them.
When asked for comment, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters “there is nothing abnormal detected in the radiation level surrounding the plant.” Chinese news agencies have ben reporting similar headlines. “The operational safety of the nuclear power plant is guaranteed,” China’s Ministry of Ecology and Environment said, according to China Daily.
While there does not seem to be any consensus yet on the dangers posed by the damaged fuel rods at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, any type of radiological incident in close proximity to so many heavily populated urban areas could wreak havoc on the Chinese and Hong Kong public if any potential radioactive contamination grows to unsafe levels. A major nuclear emergency along the already tense South China Sea would undoubtedly have public health implications that go far beyond China’s borders, as well.
Asia Times reported that four nuclear plants along Guangdong’s coastline are already up and running and now a colossal new reactor at the Taishan Power Plant quietly went online during December 2018. The plant has been plagued by bickering between technicians and Chinese officials as well as their French counterparts concerning safety and contingency measures, controversies that resulted in a five-year delay.
Dit is dan ook glad nie ‘n ou aanleg nie, maar een wat baie vinnig gebou en in gebruik geneem is. Dus wat hier gebeur is dat omliggende gebiede en veral lande, dit met ‘n arendsoog dophou. Aanvanklik het China alles ontken, volgens sekere berigte dat daar groot fout is. Mens wil dit nie regtig glo nie, want hierdie tipe van ongelukke wat kan gebeur, kan nie verewig onder die tafel weggesteek word nie. Sekere ongelukke by ander reaktors het groot invloed en veral impak op die hele Europa gehad, nie net in die direkte omgewing van die reaktor nie. Dit is groot ontwikkelde lande wat geraak word.
What technology does Taishan Nuclear Power Plant use?
Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is a large-scale Sino-French nuclear power plant. It is jointly invested and established by China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF, and is owned by the joint venture Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Co., Ltd. of which China General Nuclear Power Group owns 70% and France Power companies account for 30%, and Framatome, a subsidiary of the latter, is responsible for the design of nuclear power plants and provide reactor technical support.
The gas-releasing Taishan No. 1 reactor is the first European pressurized water reactor (EPR) series to put into use the third-generation pressurized water reactor design reactor. The EPR is currently mainly designed and developed by Framatome and EPR. The second generation reactor has higher thermal efficiency, passive nuclear safety system, and standardized design, thereby reducing maintenance and investment costs.
However, in 2015, France Telecom admitted that it had encountered major difficulties in constructing the EPR design. Currently, only Taishan No. 1 and No. 2 EPR reactors are in operation in the world. EPR production in France, the UK and Iceland have all been delayed due to cost issues. In addition, France, India and the United Kingdom have also confirmed that they will build multiple EPRs.
[Taishan Nuclear Power Plant Accident]France Telecom: Suspected fuel rod problems, Chinese officials did not respond to the reduction of standards to avoid work stoppage Expert: Difficult to judge the impact on human body | Position report | Position news