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Regulators Ask Areva For Nuclear Reactor Improvements (6976)

Mon, 11/02/2009 - 10:14am

PARIS (AP) — Regulators in France, Finland and Britain said Monday they have asked French nuclear engineering specialist Areva SA to make improvements to the design of a new generation of reactors.

The regulators — Britain's Health and Safety Executive, France's Nuclear Safety Authority and the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority — expressed concern about an aspect of the design of the so-called EPRs, or European Pressurized Reactors.

They asked the manufacturer to ensure greater independence between the systems used to operate the plant in normal circumstances and those used if the plant "goes outside normal conditions." The joint statement said Areva and licensees have agreed to make architectural changes.

Areva said in a statement that "constant dialogue between operators, constructors and nuclear safety authorities is an integral part of the certification and construction processes for new reactors."

"The safety of the EPR reactor has not been called into question, and Areva is currently working with the regulators in each country to make the necessary adaptations to meet local standards," the company said.

EPR reactors are under construction in France, Finland and China, and the certification process is under way in the United States and Britain.

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