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World China Silent Over Nuclear Leak Allegations as Taishan Plant Says Readings 'Normal'

15:06  14 june  2021
15:06  14 june  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

China nuclear plant: US assessing reported leak at facility in Taishan, Guangdong

  China nuclear plant: US assessing reported leak at facility in Taishan, Guangdong The US government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, after a French company that part owns and helps operate it warned of an "imminent radiological threat," according to US officials and documents reviewed by CNN. © Deng Hua/Xinhua/Alamy The first phase project of Taishan Nuclear Power Plant is seen on Dec. 20, 2018, in Taishan, Guangdong Province.

a large jetliner sitting on top of a mountain: The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, a Chinese and French state joint venture in Guangdong, China. © China Internet Information Center The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, a Chinese and French state joint venture in Guangdong, China.

The Chinese government and its official news services have remained silent amid reports of a suspected radiation leak at a nuclear power plant, nearly 24 hours after the facility's operator claimed all of the readings were "normal."

China was still observing a public holiday on Monday, and news presented by state broadcaster CCTV and official information service Xinhua has notably avoided reports concerning the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in the southern Guangdong province.

China Nuclear Plant Leak Response Evokes Chernobyl as Taishan Facility Insists It's Safe

  China Nuclear Plant Leak Response Evokes Chernobyl as Taishan Facility Insists It's Safe A French company that partly owns and helps operate the plant claimed the radiation limits were above French safety standards, CNN reported.The Chinese plant denied the allegations and said that its generators are functioning normally, evoking memories for some of the lack of transparency around previous nuclear disasters.

The Taishan Nuclear Power Joint Venture Company (TNPJVC) released a statement late on Sunday to pre-emptively refute a CNN report claiming the facility had been "leaking fission gas."

The exclusive, published on Monday, said the power plant's French partner, Framatome, had reached out to the United States government for assistance in resolving an "imminent radiological threat."

In its statement, the state-owned China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group said it was responding to "agency and media" inquiries into the situation at the plant. Both reactors at the site were operating within the required safety and technical standards, while continuous readings showed environmental indicators inside and outside the plant were "normal," it added.

Alert in an EPR nuclear power plant in China: What is known about possible radioactive leak

 Alert in an EPR nuclear power plant in China: What is known about possible radioactive leak © Peter Parks The Taishan EPR, in China, would be a victim of a radioactive leak. AFP / Peter Parks What is happening at the Taishan EPR nuclear power plant in southern China? Framatome, a subsidiary of EDF which deals with the management of this plant, alerted last week the United States for technical assistance, evoking a "imminent radiological threat" and a radioactive leak, according to CNN . According to EDF, atmospheric releases of gas have not exceeded the authorized limits.

CGNPC is majority owner of the China-France joint venture, with utility firm Électricité de France (EDF) holding a 30 percent stake.

Despite the plant operator's official denial, news of the potential safety hazard seems not to have reached the Chinese internet in any meaningful way. Beyond the silence of official channels, only a handful of unofficial news outlets in the country reposted TNPJVC's statement, and none mentioned the CNN report.

Meanwhile, social media sites have carried only a sporadic mention of the situation at the facility, which is roughly 80 miles west of Hong Kong.

On Weibo, the country's largest social media website with over 500 million active monthly users, a search for "Taishan Nuclear Power Plant"returned only two pages of results for June 13 and 14. They included screenshots of the CNN report and reposts of TNPJVC's statement—both with little engagement.

Explainer-What happened at China's Taishan nuclear reactor?

  Explainer-What happened at China's Taishan nuclear reactor? Explainer-What happened at China's Taishan nuclear reactor?SHANGHAI (Reuters) - French energy company EDF is investigating a potential issue linked to a build-up of inert gases at its nuclear plant in China's southeastern province of Guangdong.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., didn't respond to Newsweek's request for comment before publication.

The two reactors at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant were built in 2008 and went online in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

According to CNN, the plant's designer and equipment supplier Framatome—mainly owned by France's EDF—alerted the Biden administration to its concerns in two memos dated June 3 and 8.

Framatome claimed the site was continuing to operate despite the fission gas leak because China's top nuclear authority had revised the safety limit to beyond indicators acceptable under French standards.

The Biden administration has been assessing the reports for several weeks, and the White House held National Security Council meetings to discuss the matter, CNN said.

U.S. officials determined the situation was "not at crisis level," suggesting Framatome's concerns were not an immediate danger to Taishan and its 1 million residents.

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China Insists Taishan Nuclear Plant Radiation Levels Normal, Despite Fears .
The French minority owner of the Taishan power plant in China says it is investigating reports of a fission gas leak, but that it is too soon to say whether the site requires a complete shutdown.Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry, told reporters on Tuesday that the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province met all technical requirements. "No abnormalities in radiation levels have been detected in the surrounding environment.

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