Areva Said to Extend Probe of Le Creusot Forge Irregularities

Areva SA, the troubled French maker of nuclear reactors, is extending its probe into the irregularities in quality control at its forge in Le Creusot as it uncovered new anomalies in manufacturing records, a person familiar with the matter said.

The state-controlled company will review all 9,000 manufacturing records of the forge dating back as far as 1943, including the files of 6,000 nuclear components, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information isn’t public. The French nuclear safety authority and the power generator Electricite de France SA are aware of the extended probe, which will take several months, the person said.

An initial review of more than 400 files identified to have anomalies such as missing documents or undue rounding in reported data has led to the halt of one French atomic reactor, Fessenheim-2. Areva was able to prove that other irregularities weren’t an issue for safety, the person said.

At Fessenheim-2, which has been halted by the nuclear watchdog, Areva is making additional checks until the end of the year to establish its safety, the person said.

The new findings are part of an investigation into quality-control issues and manufacturing problems at Areva’s Creusot forge, which was triggered after the nuclear watchdog found in 2014 that part the reactor vessel installed at a new reactor that EDF is building in Flamanville may be weaker than expected.

The probe has led to prolonged stoppages at some of EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors in France, forcing the utility to lower the upper range of its 2016 profit forecast last month.

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