Weeks ago the Chinese government sought to downplay – but also admitted – an incident at Taishan nuclear plant near Hong Kong which involved damage to fuel rods, also amid wider suspicions of a radiation leak, mainly being spotlighted by entities based outside the country – most notably the French company that part owns and assists in operating the site which warned of an “imminent radiological threat”.
Now adding to these suspicions of a much more serious incident than what China admitted, Taishan’s operator has announced Friday that one of Taishan’s reactors has been shut down for “maintenance”. The Chinese government had dismissed what it called a “common” problem, citing no need for concern, while the China General Nuclear Power Group (CGN) on Friday issued a statement saying the reactor is “completely under control”.
This after as CNN reported in mid-June the French operator took the very unusual step of reaching out to the US government for help:
While US officials have deemed the situation does not currently pose a severe safety threat to workers at the plant or Chinese public, it is unusual that a foreign company would unilaterally reach out to the American government for help when its Chinese state-owned partner is yet to acknowledge a problem exists. The scenario could put the US in a complicated situation should the leak continue or become more severe without being fixed.
Obviously this all suggested a potential serious cover-up in progress which further appeared to pit the French operator against Chinese authorities overseeing the plant. BBC in its latest reporting Friday referenced this internal conflict now leading to the Unit 1 shutdown at Taishan.
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