The French nuclear power company Framatome has announced a “performance issue” at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in China, which it operates in partnership with the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN).
In a highly unusual step, Framatome warned the United States government about an “imminent radiological threat” from the plant, which is located in the Guangdong province near Hong Kong.
With its parent company EDF on board, Framatome reassured American authorities that “the plant is operating within safety parameters,” however an “increase in the concentration of certain noble gases” has been detected within the primary circuit of the cooling system at one of the plant’s two nuclear reactors.
Both reactors are supposedly still “operating according to nuclear safety rules and regulations,” and conditions in the surrounding environment are said to still “meet normal parameters.” Neither CGN nor the communist Chinese government issued any comments about the plant until pressed by the media following Framatome’s statement.
The message sent by the company to the Department of Energy (DoE) was supposedly more “alarming” than the statements the company issued on Sunday and Monday. This could explain why China was more reluctant to issue a response to the issue.
According to CNN, Framotome has accused Chinese safety officials of “raising the acceptable limits for radiation detection outside the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province in order to avoid having to shut it down.”
If true, this definitely explains why China did not issue and response, and why it has simply continued on with business as usual. The rest of the world, however, is wondering if there might be something more serious going on for which we all deserve some answers.
CNN further claims that U.S. officials took the June 8 warning seriously, but that they determined that the plant has not yet reached “crisis level.” This, the fake news agency contends, was done to allow Framatome, CGN and Chinese authorities to come up with a solution.
“Concern was significant enough that the National Security Council held multiple meetings last week as they monitored the situation, including two at the deputy level and another gathering at the assistant secretary level on Friday, which was led by NSC Senior Director for China Laura Rosenberger and Senior Director for Arms Control Mallory Stewart, according to US officials,” CNN reported.
“The Biden administration has discussed the situation with the French government and their own experts at the Department of Energy, sources said. The US has also been in contact with the Chinese government, US officials said, though the extent of that contact is unclear.”
The federal government, meanwhile, has declined to explain the assessment, and the NSC, the State Department and the Department of Energy are all insistent that if there was any real risk to the Chinese public from the plant that authorities would be required to make it known under existing treaties.
News of the issue brings back memories of the Fukushima Daiichi incident in Japan, which is still releasing toxic radiation into the ocean some 10 years after the fact.
CNN quoted analysts who say that Framatome contacted the DoE to request waivers allowing them to share “American technical assistance” with staff at the Taishan plant, supposedly to help them address the situation. Others, however, warn that this could be dangerous, potentially triggering secondary sanctions that would damage U.S. relations.
As of the beginning of the week, outside experts seem to be in agreement that there is no suggestion as of now that there is any serious environmental threat from the plant.
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