March 12, 2018 / 11:20 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-Nuclear regulator ASN says EDF's Fessenheim 2 steam generator fit for service

* Fessenheim 2 expected back online on March 31

* Has been offline since June 2016 (Adds details, background)

PARIS, March 12 (Reuters) - France’s ASN nuclear regulator said on Monday that a steam generator at state-controlled utility EDF’s Fessenheim 2 nuclear reactor was fit for service.

Fessenheim 2, which has been offline since June 13 2016 for safety checks on the steam generator after irregularities were found during a probe, is expected back online on March 31.

The ASN said in a statement that it had lifted the suspension it had placed on the nuclear reactor.

It said the anomaly that occurred during the forging of a component of the steam generator for the reactor does not call into question its aptitude for service, and that it complied with regulations.

The ASN slapped the suspension on Fessenheim 2 steam generator test certificates in 2016, after manufacturing irregularities and weak spots were discovered in the steel of a Creusot-made steam generator.

The regulator also launched a wide-ranging review of millions of manufacturing documents, and components that were manufactured by Framatome’s Creusot Forge. The review is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

It said the decision to lift the suspension does not preclude potential judicial action that could be taken, given irregularities and falsifications found at the Creusot plant.

Fessenheim, France’s oldest nuclear power plant which has two 900 megawatts capacity reactors, is expected to cease operations when EDF’s new generation Flamanville 3 EPR reactor starts operations at the end of the year. (Reporting by Bate Felix and Geert de Clercq; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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