The Chinese government announced on Wednesday that five of the fuel rods in the No.1 reactor at the Taishan nuclear power plant have broken, increasing radiation levels and releasing gases inside the reactor.
Beijing insisted that the situation allegedly poses no threat to the outside world.
NOTE – When have we heard THAT before?
It was the first official acknowledgment of a significant problem at Taishan since the French co-owner of the plant wrote a troubling letter to the U.S. government last week, warning of an “imminent radiological threat.”
China’s Ministry of the Environment and Nuclear Safety Authority issued a joint statement on Wednesday that said “about five” of the 60,000 fuel rods inside the reactor have become “damaged.”
The statement claimed the reactor is operating “within regulatory parameters” and “there is no leakage” of radioactive material into the environment. Chinese officials said the damaged rods amount to roughly 0.01 percent of the reactor’s total fuel, while its design allows for up to 0.25 percent of the rods to be damaged. The Ministry of the Environment said the reactor’s safety systems were functioning as planned.
China’s state-run Global Times insisted this much-delayed admission of the problems at Taishan “refuted” CNN’s report about the French company, Framatome, sending a warning letter to the U.S. Department of Energy last week.
Chinese Nuclear Safety Administration officials denied they were considering increasing the minimum safe threshold for radiation in the area so they could avoid shutting the plant down, as suggested by various observers this week.