Mystery nuclear leak from Chinese power plant could turn into a catastrophe – US raises alarm
United States secret intelligence has found that the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in China has been leaking for about half a month now.
U.S. agents have spent the last week keeping a close eye on the situation after a French company that co-owns the power plant, raised its concerns about it to America.
According to reports, the problem has the potential to turn into a catastrophe but it has not yet reached critical levels.
Chinese owners of the plant, however, say that everything is in order.
Issues at the plant were first signaled to the U.S. last month by French firm Framatome, according to documents sent to the Department of Energy (DoE).
Almost two weeks ago, another document described the problem as a “fission gas leak” and urged the DoE to share the info in a plea for help.
After receiving no answer, Framatome sent another memo asking for a response.
They said the problem presents an “imminent radiological threat to the site” and urged Chinese regulators to increase “safe” levels of radioactivity at the plant.
Washington is assessing a reported leak at China's Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, but the Biden administration does not believe the facility is at a ‘crisis level’ yet, CNN reported https://t.co/zC6VqSadAX pic.twitter.com/9XXtvy9WyT
— Reuters (@Reuters) June 14, 2021
China has been able to keep the plant running instead of shutting it down in an effort to fix the problem.
Framatome said that China had more than doubled the limit, which exceeds the safety standards in France.
After receiving the second memo, US State Department heads met to assess the severity of the threat and found there was no immediate danger, but concluded the plant could eventually face a catastrophe.
Hong Kong monitors radiation levels.
Leader Carrie Lam says the government is monitoring radiation levels in the city and that "everything is normal", following a US media report of a potential leak at China's Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in populous Guangdong province pic.twitter.com/yGdZBB6eZA
— AFP News Agency (@AFP) June 15, 2021
The French company confirmed they are currently working to fix a “performance issue” at the site.
The EDF, Another French energy company, also said there has been an increase in noble gases (byproducts of nuclear fission that may indicate a reactor is leaking) detected in the plant’s cooling system.
They said the presence of noble gases is “a known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the reactor operating procedures”.
— Business Standard (@bsindia) June 15, 2021
The Taishan plant opened its doors in 2018 and was the first in the world to operate a next-generation EPR nuclear reactor.
EPR reactors are said to be promising advances in safety and efficiency over standard reactors while also producing less waste.
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