© Reuters. In Taishan, Guangdong Province, a nuclear reactor and associated facilities as part of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant to be operated by China Guangdong Nuclear Power (CGN) are seen under construction on October 17, 2013. While China signs global export contracts
BEIJING (Reuters) – China said Tuesday that radiation levels around the Taishan nuclear project in southeast Guangdong province had remained normal after media reports reported a leak in one of its reactors.
French utility EDF (PA :), one of the project’s owners, said Monday it was investigating media reports that abnormal amounts of radioactive gas had leaked from the facility.
CNN had reported that Framatome, the EDF unit that constructed Taishan’s reactors, warned of an “imminent radiological threat” to the project after an accumulation of krypton and xenon.
Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, said at a press conference that the plant fully complies with all requirements and that there are no signs of abnormalities in its vicinity.
“So far, China’s nuclear power plants have had good operating records with no environmental or public health incident,” Zhao said.
EDF said Monday the problem at the facility could have been caused by fuel rods supplied by Framatome.
“Under normal operating conditions, some gases like krypton and xenon will escape and be detected, but in this case the concentrations are much higher so something is happening,” said Tatsujiro Suzuki, a former vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission.
“As soon as radioactive gas escapes into the environment, it is a serious problem. It could get worse. I think there might be problems with the fuel. It is unusual.”
Completed in 2019, the Taishan project consists of two reactors designed in France and is located approximately 200 km (124 miles) from Hong Kong.
Earlier, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, told reporters that the Hong Kong Observatory and the Ministry of Waterways were monitoring the radiation exposure and had not found anything suspicious.
Li Ning, a Chinese nuclear scientist based in the US, said the dangers in Taishan were exaggerated.
“Because nuclear power plants, once built and operating, are subject to very strict controls and local areas are excluded from further development, the background radiation around them can often be lower than historical levels,” he said.
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