A French company that partially owns and helps operate the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in China has reached out to the U.S. government urgently asking for help because the nuclear facility is reportedly leaking gas and Chinese officials have allegedly started releasing more and more of the gas on the surrounding area in order to prevent shutting the plant down.
The Biden administration has held multiple meetings over the last week on how to deal with the situation, but they claim that it does not yet pose a “severe” risk to the Chinese population. The French company, Framatome, warned in a letter to the Biden administration that there was an “imminent radiological threat.”
Framatome had reached out to the US in order to obtain a waiver that would allow them to share American technical assistance in order to resolve the issue at the Chinese plant. There are only two reasons why this waiver would be granted, and one is an “imminent radiological threat,” the same verbiage used in the June 8 memo.
Framatome, mainly owned by Électricité de France (EDF), reportedly reached out to the Biden administration last month to warn about a potential issue at the Chinese nuclear plant.
The report continued:
Framatome reached out to the US government for assistance, the document indicates, because a Chinese government agency was continuing to increase its limits on the amount of gas that could safely be released from the facility without shutting it down, according to the documents reviewed by CNN. When asked by CNN for comment, the Energy Department did not directly address the memo’s claim that China was raising the limits.
In the June 8 memo, Framatome informed DOE the Chinese safety authority has continued to raise regulatory “off-site dose limits.” It also says the company suspects that limit might be increased again as to keep the leaking reactor running despite safety concerns for the surrounding population.
“If they do have a gas leak, that indicates some of their containment is broken,” said Cheryl Rofer, a nuclear scientist who retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2001. “It also argues that maybe some of the fuel elements could be broken, which would be a more serious problem. That would be a reason for shutting down the reactor and would then require the reactor to be refueled.”
Biden, who critics say has been weak when it comes to confronting China, pleaded with China to have more “transparency” while speaking at the G7.
The situation comes as the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. Chinese officials repeatedly lied about the pandemic, tried to cover it up, withheld critical information from the world that could have played a significant role in mitigating the damage from the pandemic, and they refuse to cooperate with investigators who are probing the increasing likelihood that the pandemic originated in a Chinese lab that was conducting secret research with the Chinese military.