French nuclear reactor shut down after fires
RENNES, France — A French nuclear reactor shut down automatically Thursday after two small fires at the installation in the north of the country that firefighters quickly extinguished, officials said.
EDF, the operator of the power plant in Penly on the English Channel near the port of Dieppe, said the installation was secure, no-one was injured, and there were “no consequences for the environment”.
The firefighters “went into the building housing the reactor of the number two production unit of the Penly nuclear power plant to extinguish two fires,” it said in a statement on the plant’s website.
The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said the firefighters had found small pools of oil on fire but had quickly extinguished the flames.
“These were pools of a few dozen square centimetres,” said ASN press officer Evangelia Petit, adding that the authority would make an inspection of the site on Friday.
France generates 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power and the future of the industry has become an issue in campaigns for the presidential election to be held in April and May.
France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, operates 58 reactors and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.
But the country’s reliance on nuclear power has been called into question since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which prompted Germany to announce plans to shut all of its reactors by the end of 2022.