Beijing Reports Minor Damage To 5 Fuel Rods At Taishan NPP, Says No Leakage Detected
Five out of over 60,000 fuel rods in the first power unit of China's Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) were damaged but no leakage of radioactive substances was detected, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Wednesday
BEIJING (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 16th June, 2021) Five out of over 60,000 fuel rods in the first power unit of China's Taishan Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) were damaged but no leakage of radioactive substances was detected, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment said on Wednesday.
The NPP's check-up follows a CNN report, saying that the US government was assessing information about a leak of fission gas at the Taishan NPP that poses "imminent radiological threat." The broadcaster cited French company Framatome � one of the plant's owners � claiming that Beijing had been raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the NPP to avoid shutting the facility down.
"There are more than 60,000 fuel rods in the active zone of the first power unit of China's Taishan NPP. According to the current estimates, coating was damaged on around five fuel rods; the proportion of damaged rods is less than 0.01%," the ministry said in a statement shared on the Chinese WeChat social network, adding that up to 0.25% share of damaged rods is considered to be safe.
The ministry explained that the increased level of radioactivity in the Primary circuit of the first power unit was mainly associated with damage to the fuel rods, which was caused by "uncontrolled factors during the production, transportation, and loading of fuel," noting that minor damage in this case is inevitable and a "common phenomenon."
"The increased level of radioactivity ... and an accident with a leak of a radioactive substance are two completely different things. The primary circuit is located inside the containment dome of the reactor, and as long as the pressure boundary of the reactor coolant system and the air-tightness of the containment dome meet the requirements, there is no radioactive leakage into the environment," the ministry said.
According to the latest monitoring data, there are no deviations from the norm, and the background radiation indicates that there was no leakage, the ministry added.
The ministry went on to say that it would continue to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency and the French regulator on the situation at the NPP.
"We will continue to monitor closely the level of radioactivity in the primary circuit of the first power unit ... At the same time, we intend to strengthen the work on on-site supervision and environmental monitoring," the statement read.
The Chinese authorities also intend to oblige the plant's operator to take measures to carefully control the level of radioactivity in the primary circuit, as well as strictly comply with the technical operating conditions and ensure the safety of the first power unit.
"Since the commissioning, the operation of both units of the Taishan NPP has been safe and stable, and there have been no deviations in the environmental indicators," the ministry concluded.
France's state utility EDF � the main owner of Framatome � confirmed earlier this week that the situation was far from an emergency. The company added that the presence of certain rare gases in the primary circuit was a known phenomenon, which had been studied and foreseen by the operating procedures.