Operator says China nuclear plant facing 'performance issue'
HONG KONG (AP) — The French joint operator of a Chinese nuclear plant near Hong Kong said Monday that the plant is dealing with a “performance issue” but is currently operating within safety limits, following a report of a potential radioactive leak.
The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is jointly owned by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group and French multinational electric utility Électricité de France, the main owner of Framotome, which helps operate the plant.
“Framatome is supporting resolution of a performance issue with the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province, China,” Framatome said in a short statement Monday.
“According to the data available, the plant is operating within the safety parameters,” it said. “Our team is working with relevant experts to assess the situation and propose solutions to address any potential issue.”
Radiation levels in Hong Kong, 135 kilometers (85 miles) from the Taishan plant, were normal on Monday, according to the Hong Kong Observatory, which monitors radiation around the city.
CNN reported Monday that Framotome had written to the U.S. Department of Energy warning of an “imminent radiological threat” and accusing Chinese authorities of raising acceptable limits for radiation outside the plant to avoid having to shut it down. CNN said U.S. officials believed the current situation at the plant did not present a severe safety threat.
Électricité de France said in a statement Monday that it had been informed of the increase in concentration of “certain rare gases” in the primary circuit of reactor no. 1 at the Taishan plant.
“The presence of certain rare gases in the primary circuit is a known phenomenon, studied and foreseen by the operating procedures of the reactors,” it said in a statement.
The utility said it is...