Scientists are busy tracking wind movement for a potential cloud of suspicious gas rising from a presumed nuclear power plant incident in China. France-based EDF Energy, which partnered with China to build a nuclear power plant to generate electricity for the Guangzhou and Shenzhen areas there, has reached out to the United States for help in dealing with the situation there.
However, official Chinese media outlets are dismissing the seriousness of the situation –or that anything is really wrong. China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, the entity responsible for the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, said through state media, The Global Times, that the “nuclear power plant has operated the reactors strictly in compliance with business license documents and technical procedures.” They added that two nuclear reactors at the facility have been operating in line with nuclear safety regulations and the technical requirements of electricity plants.
According to published media reports, Framatome, the French nuclear reactor business within Electricite de France (EDF), reached out to the United States for assistance in being able to share sensitive information with their Chinese counterparts to deal with whatever situation is unfolding there.
Published reports say noble gases have leaked from the power plant in recent days. Rather than declare an emergency, authorities have apparently raised the limit of what’s an acceptable release of gas to prevent notices from being made public; by raising acceptable limits, the power plant can continue to run unencumbered. An unnamed spokesperson for EDF told reporters that the coating on some fuel rods used in the nuclear power plant’s Number One reactor deteriorated, leading to a build-up of xenon and krypton in the reactor’s cooling system. Such noble gases are usually used to limit chemical reactions, such as a nuclear reaction, from occurring.
Framatome designs, manufactures, and installs components, fuel and instrumentation and control systems for nuclear power plants and offers a full range of reactor services; they currently developed nuclear power plants in France, England, China, and have plans to deploy plants in India and Russia.
CNN reports that Framatome sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy warning them of a potential leak and how China’s safety authority was not properly dealing with the situation. Sources told CNN that the Biden administration discussed the situation with the Department of Energy, but there is no additional news to share at this time.
According to the latest American GFS global computer forecast weather model, anything being emitted from the power plant would be transported across the Pacific into the United States and Canada over time due to the presence of the jet stream. If noble gases, or worse, radioactive emissions, are released at the plant, they could make their way to North America in a matter of days.