Autorité de sûreté nucléaire
The Autorité de sûreté nucléaire (English: Nuclear Safety Authority, ASN) is an independent French administrative authority set up by law 2006-686 of 13 June 2006 concerning nuclear transparency and safety. It has replaced the General Direction for Nuclear Safety and Radioprotection. Its task, on behalf of the State, is to regulate nuclear safety and radiation protection in order to protect workers, patients, the public and the environment from the risks involved in nuclear activities. It also contributes to informing the citizens.
From 2006 to 2012, the president of the ASN was André-Claude Lacoste who was also a founding member and had been chairman of the International Nuclear Regulators' Association (INRA) and the Western European Nuclear Regulators' Association (WENRA). He was also the chairman of the Commission on Safety Standards (CSS) of the IAEA.
Early during the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the ASN stated that they believed the events unfolding should be rated a 5 or even a 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale when the Japan Atomic Energy Agency had listed them a day before as a level 4 event. Later on they said they believed the situation had surpassed that of a level 5 event and moved to a level 6. Their opinion was shared by the Finnish nuclear authorities.
During 2015 and 2016 major nuclear safety issues arose, following a discovery at the Flamanville Nuclear Power Plant, concerning about 400 large steel forgings manufactured by Areva's Le Creusot Forge since 1965 that had carbon-content irregularities that weakened the steel. A widespread programme of reactor checks was started leading to 20 of France's 58 reactors being offline in October 2016. These steel quality concerns may prevent the regulator giving the life extensions from 40 to 50 years, that had been assumed by energy planners, for many reactors. Le Creusot Forge had maintained concealed files which had now been disclosed to ASN following new management by Areva. ASN characterised the current situation in January 2017 as worrying. In April 2017 ASN published the requirements for forging to resume at Le Creusot Forge, which has been out of operation since December 2015.
- André-Claude Lacoste on aciers.free.fr Archived July 20, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. (in English)
- WENRA website Archived March 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
- Resume of Pierre-Franck Chevet
- taken from Fukushima I nuclear accidents page
- Andrew Ward (28 October 2016). "French nuclear outages threaten higher UK power bills". Financial Times. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- John Large (26 September 2016). Irregularities and Anomalies Relating to the Forged Components of Le Creusot Forge (PDF). Large Associates (Report). Greenpeace France. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- Lee Buchsbaum (1 November 2016). "France's Nuclear Storm: Many Power Plants Down Due to Quality Concerns". POWER. Retrieved 2 November 2016.
- Bate Felix, Geert De Clercq (8 November 2016). "France could face winter power cuts, hit by nuclear dependence". Reuters. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
- "France's nuclear-energy champion is in turmoil". The Economist. 3 December 2016. Retrieved 3 December 2016.
- "French regulator lists concerns at new-year press meeting". Nuclear Engineering International. 3 February 2017. Retrieved 8 February 2017.
- "ASN sets conditions for Creusot Forge restart". World Nuclear News. 18 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- "French regulator lists conditions for operation of Le Creusot Forge". Nuclear Engineering International. 20 April 2017. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
- Official website (in English)
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