US looks into claims that China raised safety limit after leak at EPR nuclear plant in Guangdong

The US is investigating claims that China responded to a leak at a nuclear power station that posed an “imminent radiological threat” by raising the safety limit to keep it open.

[This story coincides with: “Fire confirmed at Hinkley Point after smoke cloud seen from afar”]

Adam Sage, Paris | Didi Tang, Beijing 

Instead of shutting the new generation European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) at Taishan in the southern province of Guangdong, Chinese officials increased the authorised level of radiation, EDF, the French state energy group, is said to have told Washington.

EDF, which designed the new reactors, is also involved in a joint venture with China General Nuclear Power Group to build two EPRs at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Officials are said to have concluded that there was no severe safety threat to workers or people living near the plant. The Biden administration has decided that the incident at Taishan has yet to reach “crisis level”.

However, EDF hinted that information was being withheld by the Chinese. In a statement the French state group demanded an extraordinary meeting of the joint venture running the plant “to present all the data and the necessary decisions”.