Luxembourgh Times

Cattenom mishap shuts down reactor over weekend

France told about the incident at Luxembourg border only three days later

Nuclear plant in Cattenom Photo: Guy Jallay

Nuclear plant in Cattenom Photo: Guy Jallay

France's Cattenom nuclear power plant had to shut down a reactor on Friday night because of a 'signifcant' incident, a safety risk on Luxembourg's border the country disclosed only three days later.

The cause of the event was a fault with electronic circuit cards in a control cabinet, French state electricity company Electricité de France (EDF) said, ranking the incident at the very bottom of a scale going up to 7.

The company had in any case planned to shut down the reactor at the weekend for maintenance, it said.

France's nuclear safety authority (ASN) is conducting a review of a group of eight of the country's nuclear power plants – including the Cattenom site just across the border – to establish whether they could be run past their current expiration date in 2040.

EDF has been buying up land around the site in Cattenom, prompting fears in Luxembourg and Germany that the plant could be expanded.

Luxembourg is opposed to consider nuclear energy a safe alternative to carbon-emitting energy production at the EU level, aligning itself with countries such as Austria against France and the Czech Republic.

At the height of the pandemic, environment minister Carole Dieschbourg got into a diplomatic spat with Belgium, which was planning a site near the border to dump nuclear waste, the plans for which Dieschbourg said had not been communicated via regular diplomatic channels.

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