SOCATRI: First conclusions of the internal audit and AREVA general inspection
July 17, 2008
An internal enquiry was performed by the AREVA group in the wake of the INES Level 1 incident that occurred on July 7 at the SOCATRI plant on the Tricastin site.
The incident came about during a draining operation at a water treatment installation. This was unrelated to the enrichment facility and the nuclear power plants at the site. The release into the environment was the product of a leaktight fault in a hold-up tank.
The accidental release did not affect either the health of employees and local populations, or their environment.
An examination into the chronology of the facts revealed that technical safety procedures were quickly implemented (teams mobilized, installation shut down, drainage system blocked, environment samples taken).
An overflow occurred at 10pm, but would have been inconsequential had the hold-up tank not been faulty, which itself was noticed at 4.45am on July 8. SOCATRI then informed the authorities at 7.30am.
This incident occurred as a result of a clear lack of coordination between the work teams and operating teams.
The operator is also at fault for having waited nearly three hours for the results of the additional measurements to come back before contacting the authorities.
The SOCATRI teams understand that this incident has caused great emotion and concern, and clearly underestimated this aspect.
AREVA teams contacted nearby residents and mayors of the towns concerned, providing every item of information available in real-time.
AREVA has decided to appoint a new General Manager of SOCATRI, whose mission it will be to carry out an overall review of the facility’s operations and safety. With the support of the group, he will also provide in-depth feedback on the event, and will be in charge of implementing the conclusions.
Support will be offered to the Vaucluse and Drôme Chamber of Agriculture, aimed at farmers affected by the temporary hosepipe ban.
As a precautionary measure, the stepped-up monitoring plan shall be maintained. Its results shall be communicated as and when they become available, and will be posted in town halls and on http://www.areva.com/.