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EDF to Make Repairs at Nuclear Plant After Design Error Found

EDF to Make Repairs at Nuclear Plant After Design Error Found
Paris, Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Electricite de France, Europe's largest 
electricity producer, said it will repair backup water tanks at its 
nuclear power plant at Fessenheim in eastern France after discovering 
a design error. 

EDF, whose 58 French nuclear plants generate about three- quarters of 
the country's power, said it will repair rings between the water 
tanks and the ground after finding a flaw that could weaken the 
resistance of the tanks to a major earthquake. 

The Paris-based company discovered a similar problem earlier this 
year at its French nuclear plant of Bugey, the same model as at 
Fessenheim and the oldest of EDF's nuclear plants still in service, 
the state-owned company said. 

``We've proposed starting repairs immediately,'' an EDF spokesman 
said. ``For the moment, the only reactors concerned are the oldest 
models, at Bugey and Fessenheim.'' 

The water reservoirs potentially affected by the flaw are used as a 
back-up when there is a problem with the main water cooling circuit, 
or when the nuclear fuel is changed. They are designed to resist the 
kind of earthquake that occurs once in a thousand years, EDF said. 
The biggest earthquake on record in the region was in 1356 and 
estimated at 6.5 on the Richter scale. 

Discovery of the design flaw was classified a level-one incident, the 
lowest ranking on a scale of one to seven, EDF said, adding that 
there are several dozen level-one incidents each year. One of the two 
reactors at Fessenheim was operating normally yesterday, while the 
second reactor is shut down for its 10-year revision until November. 

Repair work on one of the tanks at Bugey is completed, and work on 
the other is expected to be finished by the end of the year, the EDF 
spokesman said. 

Sandy Perle					Tel:(714) 545-0100 / (800) 548-5100   				    	
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