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China nuclear plant ‘leak’: US investigates report of ‘imminent radiological threat’ at Taishan facility

·1-min read
The Taishan nuclear plant was powered up in 2018 and features two operational pressurised reactors (AFP/Getty)
The Taishan nuclear plant was powered up in 2018 and features two operational pressurised reactors (AFP/Getty)

The US says it is assessing reports of a leak at China’s Taishan nuclear power plant, after a French company requested support in tackling an “imminent radiological threat”.

Framatome, the French firm that partly owns the plant in Guangdong province, confirmed on Monday that it had been informed of a build-up of inert gases at the plant and had called a meeting with its Chinese partner to review the data.

The company said in a statement that it was “supporting a resolution of a performance issue” at the plant.

“According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters,” the company said. “Our team is working with relevant experts to assess the situation and propose solutions to address any potential issue.”

A CNN report cited a letter from Framatome to the US Energy Department raising the alarm and requesting international support. The Biden administration has reportedly concluded that the situation at the plant isn’t yet at “crisis level” and does not pose an immediate danger to the workers in the plant or the people around it.

The letter allegedly included an accusation from the French side that the Chinese safety authority was raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan plant in order to avoid having to shut it down.

The operator of the power station, the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group, said in a statement on Sunday evening that “the environmental indicators of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant and its surroundings are normal”.

It did not refer to any leak or incident at the power station, which it said meets “the requirements of nuclear safety regulations and power plant technical specifications”.

Additional reporting by agencies

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