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China shuts down reactor at nuclear plant for maintenance over damaged fuel rods, says situation ‘completely under control’

China shuts down reactor at nuclear plant for maintenance over damaged fuel rods, says situation ‘completely under control’
The Chinese operator of the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant has said it will shut down one of its reactors over damaged fuel rods, adding that there is no cause for concern over safety.

On Friday, China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) released a statement reiterating that everything was “completely under control” and that they had decided to shut down a reactor at the facility for maintenance. 

The statement notes that a small amount of damage occurred with the fuel rods at reactor unit one, but it was still within the allowable range and could continue to operate stably. The maintenance operation at the Guangdong-based plant will focus on finding the cause of the fuel rod damage and replacing the units in question. 

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In a subsequent statement, Electricite de France (EDF), who owns 30% of the joint venture with CGN, said it was aware of the Chinese firm’s shutdown decision. “EDF remains ready to provide its expertise in shutting down the reactor,” it added. 

Citing China’s Environment Ministry, AFP reported earlier that of some 60,000 fuel rods in the reactor at Taishan, less than 0.01 percent were damaged.

In June, China and CGN confirmed a buildup of inert gases at the nuclear plant, but dismissed reports that it posed any danger. EDF maintained that the buildup of said gases is a “known phenomenon, studied and provided for in the reactor operating procedures,” but called on CGN to share the data as soon as possible. 

Taishan’s reactor is the first operational third-generation ‘Evolutionary Power Reactor’, with others set to be used in nuclear projects in the UK, France, and Finland.

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