Brussels (Brussels Morning) A senior engineer working at the Tricastin nuclear power plant in the southeast of France has filed a lawsuit against the Electricité de France (EDF), claiming that the French utility company and the plant’s managers are covering up security failures and endangering lives.
The senior manager initially filed the complaint on 5 October, listing what he claims to have been breaches of a number of nuclear site regulations, environmental and labour codes, and accusing the company and the management of harassment and endangering lives.
His file includes a number of security incidents that reportedly took place at the Tricastin site, the most notable of which relates to the overpowering of the main nuclear reactor in June of 2017, and the flooding of several parts of the facility, including one of the plant’s electrical buildings, which occurred in the summer of 2018.
The engineer is accusing the EDF and the plant’s managers of either covering up or minimising the serious safety incidents at the plant, or reporting them belatedly. The EDF oversees 56 of the country’s nuclear reactors, and is mandated to report all incidents to the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).
The incidents reportedly took place as the plant was preparing for a major inspection, which was necessary to renew its licence to operate for a further decade. The engineer claims he refused to keep quiet about the incidents, and that he reported them to the management, the EDF and the ASN. He also claims this resulted in the management harassing him, and demoting him to a less sensitive position.
Answering a query about the incident from Le Monde daily, the EDF declined to comment on “comments from an employee”, while the ASN denied there was any cover-up involved, insisting its monitoring work had been carried out correctly.