June 19, 2017

The manufacturing of nuclear reactor components: major quality review at Le Creusot site

In February 2015, within the framework of a customer verification of end-of-manufacturing records relating to forged components for the nuclear industry, AREVA NP detected methodological deficiencies in the performance of tests carried out by its laboratory at Le Creusot. AREVA NP then launched a series of audits assigned both to internal teams independent of Le Creusot and to an independent firm. In February 2016, through this audit process, AREVA NP brought to light irregularities in the transcription of documents as well as practices unacceptable from the point of view of quality assurance. After a first phase of analysis of the files referred to as "marked records" ("dossiers barrés"), in the autumn of 2016, AREVA NP set up a team to review all of the manufacturing files relating to nuclear components, identify any irregularities and deal with them in coordination with the customers and nuclear safety authorities concerned.

Progress report on the quality review underway at the manufacturing sites as at end of May

In September 2016, AREVA NP opted to extend the quality review in progress at its Le Creusot site to encompass all of the records relating to nuclear components manufactured at the site. The review was also extended to the group's manufacturing sites at Saint-Marcel and Jeumont. To date, the audit is progressing according to the schedule established with the customers concerned and the competent regulators, world-wide.

In order to analyze the 6,000 production files at the Creusot site, a dedicated team has been ramping up since autumn 2016. By May 2017, it counted over 170 members. This team is contributing to the page-by-page inspection of the records, bringing its technical expertise to bear in classifying and characterizing the deficiencies found, processing them (justification, issuance of the deficiency sheet) and keeping the customers concerned informed. More than 2.4 million pages are being digitized and analyzed by this team. Priority is being given to the parts equipping reactors in service, as well as the EPR reactors under construction.

The deficiencies identified undergo a characterization and are then dealt with in coordination with the customers and safety authorities concerned. These deficiencies correspond to either documentary anomalies (transcribing errors, missing records, etc.) or practices that do not conform to the plant's quality assurance system, to the technical specifications of the customers or to regulations. In a file containing an average of around 400 pages, several deficiencies may be identified.

Publications relating to the quality review