Le Creusot to resume manufacture of forgings

26 January 2018

Framatome said yesterday it had received approval from the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) and EDF to resume the manufacture of forgings for the French nuclear fleet at its Le Creusot site. The approval reflects the improvement plan launched at the site at the beginning of 2016, which Framatome said is now 90% complete and will be fully closed out in the first half of this year.

The decision enables Le Creusot to continue ramping up its production with a target of 80 ingots per year. Maintaining and developing the skills of the Le Creusot plant teams is a "key element" of the site's improvement plan, with a particular focus on strengthening the nuclear safety culture, Framatome said.

David Emond, senior executive vice president of Framatome's Component Manufacturing Business Unit, said: "The authorisation to resume the manufacture of forgings for the French nuclear fleet is very good news for the site that confirms the successful execution of its improvement plan."

He added: "The 230 employees at the Le Creusot site are engaged in its deployment on a day-to-day basis so that we can supply our customers with equipment meeting the most stringent safety and quality requirements within agreed deadlines."

Framatome, which last year invested €7.5 million ($9.32 million) the Le Creusot site, said the first stage in the inspection process being applied to all records relating to forgings produced for the nuclear industry is now complete. The analysis of these findings and the processing of deviations will continue until the end of this year, in coordination with customers and safety authorities, it said.

Of the 6000 records identified during the initial survey, 3854 correspond to forgings installed on nuclear installations.

An audit of Framatome's Jeumont and Saint-Marcel sites was completed last summer, it said, and "no deviation impacting the safety of components has been brought to light".

ASN announced in April 2015 the discovery of an anomaly in the composition of the steel in certain zones of the vessel closure head and the vessel bottom head of the Flamanville EPR reactor. The detection of this anomaly led ASN to ask Areva NP and EDF to "learn all possible lessons from this event". The forge has been out of operation since December 2015.

In May 2016, the regulator said an ongoing quality audit at Le Creusot forge - which Areva bought in 2006 - had identified "irregularities" in paperwork on some 400 plant components produced there since 1965.

Framatome is the new name for New NP - the Areva NP subsidiary holding the Areva Group's nuclear reactor operations - following its recent sale to EDF, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Assystem.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News