July 18, 2008

Areva to Hold Internal Enquiry into Socatri Incident

French nuclear power group Areva has said that it will perform an internal enquiry in the wake of the incident that occurred on July 7, 2008, at the Socatri plant on the Tricastin nuclear power plant site in France.

The incident occured during a draining operation at a water treatment installation, downstream from the enrichment facility and unrelated to the site's nuclear plants. The release into the environment was due to a leaktight fault in a hold-up tank.

Areva said that the accidental release did not affect either the health of employees and local population, or the environment. An examination into the chronology of the facts revealed that technical safety procedures were quickly implemented, with teams mobilized, installation shut down, drainage system blocked and environment samples taken.

This incident occurred as a result of a clear lack of co-ordination between the work teams and operating teams, according to Areva. The company said that the operator is also at fault for having waited nearly three hours for the results of the additional measurements to come back before contacting the authorities.

Areva has also decided to appoint a new general manager of Socatri, whose mission will be to carry out an overall review of the facility's operations and safety. With the support of the group, he will also provide in-depth feedback on the event, and will be in charge of implementing the conclusions.