Fessenheim is France’s oldest operating nuclear plant, first brought online in 1977, and has long faced ongoing debates about the adequacy of the seismic safety of the plant, which only escalated after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Unit 2, which resumed output last month after halting for almost a year for safety checks, was operating normally when a fire was first reported at about 8:30 a.m.
The fire was later traced to part of the cooling system within the reactor’s machine room
Local firemen were dispatched to the site and confirmed that the EDF crew had extinguished the fire.
According to the release the unit continued to operate at 100 percent power.
Fessenheim Post-Fukushima Safety
Last week EDF announced it would spend over 18 million euros ($23.5 million) before the middle of next year on safety measures at the Fessenheim plan.
An EDF presentation outlined a plan to spend 15 million euros strengthening the concrete base under Unit 1 at Fessenheim and about 3 million euros for added pumping capacity.
The groundwater reservoir is a few meters (yards) under the site and extends 2,800 square kilometers (1,080 square miles), making it the biggest in Europe, according to documents on the regulator’s website.
EDF has already spent nearly half a billion euros since 2009 on the Fessenheim reactors so they would be fit to undergo the once-a-decade inspections, including replacing three vapor generators on Unit 2 at a cost of 150 million euros.
Second fire at EDF plant this month
Earlier this month a fire started the Penly nuclear plant, in Normandy, also operated by EDF, which triggered a radioactive water leak after a joint broke and forced the halt of the reactor operation.
The fire was put out during the night and the leak stopped, although EDF hasn’t been able to restart the reactor as the ASN’s greenlight is still pending the results of inspections to determine the root causes of the incident.
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