The U.S. government has spent the past week assessing a report of a leak at a Chinese nuclear power plant, according to officials and documents seen by CNN, but China says all is within acceptable guidelines.
A French company that partly owns and helps operate it, however, warned of an “imminent radiological threat.”
Framatome wrote to the U.S. Department of Energy and included accusations of Chinese authorities manipulating guidelines regarding nuclear limits for radiation detection.
The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province could face orders to shut down if the original limits were left in place.
Sources in the report indicated that President Joe Biden’s administration views the situation as not yet reaching a “crisis level,” however.
While U.S. officials deemed the situation safe for now, National Security Council held multiple meetings last week as they monitored the situation.
“It is not surprising that the French would reach out,” Cheryl Rofer, a nuclear scientist who retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2001, told CNN. “In general, this sort of thing is not extraordinary, particularly if they think the country they are contacting has some special ability to help.”
“But China likes to project that everything is just fine, all the time.”
Ultimately, the documents reviewed by CNN say it is up to the Chinese government to decide whether the incident requires shutting down the plant.
The Taishan Nuclear Power Plant, via its website, said all is well and that readings were “normal.” The statement added that the two reactors were fine and that Unit 2 had recently completed an “overhaul” and “successfully connected to the grid on June 10, 2021.”
CNN wrote: “The statement did not define why or how the plant was overhauled.”