Wires

UPDATE 1-French regulator sees no need to halt EDF reactors over defective welds -report

welds -report@ (Adds comments from regulator)

PARIS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - French utility EDF can continue operating nuclear reactors that have generators with defective welding, the head of France's ASN regulator told Les Echos newspaper.

"In view of the analysis we have carried out since the beginning of September..., we believe that there is no need to halt the reactors equipped with the steam generators concerned by the defective welds," Bernard Doroszczuk said in an interview published on Thursday.

He said the investigation was ongoing and further probes will be carried out when the reactors are shut down during planned maintenance to verify that there are no other defects.

Doroszczuk added that the regulator had not yet made a ruling on generators which will be installed at EDF's Flamanville 3 EPR nuclear reactor under construction in the north of France.

EDF and the steam generator maker Framatome "reacted quickly when the defects were detected, which has not always been the case in the past," Doroszczuk also said.

EDF said in September that the problems were identified in reactors no. 3 and 4 at its Blayais plant, reactor no. 3 at Bugey, reactor no. 2 at Fessenheim, reactor no. 4 at Dampierre-en-Burly and reactor no. 2 at Paluel.

Atomic power from France's 58 nuclear reactors operated by EDF accounts for around 75% of the country's electricity needs.

In the autumn of 2016, the regulator ordered EDF to halt up to a third of its reactors for weeks for safety checks and repairs following separate problems with components. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Edwina Gibbs)

Related Tags