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A French company warned the US of a ‘imminent radiological threat’ at a Chinese nuclear facility but the US said the plant isn’t at ‘crisis level’: CNN

  • A French company sent the US a letter on an “imminent radiological threat,” in China, CNN reported. 
  • Framatome said the Chinese safety authority was raising radiation detection levels outside a plant.
  • The US doesn’t believe the plant is at a “crisis level” yet. 
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A French company sent the US Department of Energy a letter that warned of  “imminent radiological threat” at the Taishan Nuclear Power Plant in Guangdong province after the Chinese state-owned partner did not acknowledge a problem exists, CNN reported. 

Framatome, the French company that part-owns and helps operate the plant, said the Chinese safety authority was raising acceptable radiation detection limits outside the plant to avoid shutting it down. 

A source told CNN President Joe Biden’s administration said the facility is not at “crisis level” yet but last week, the National Security Council held multiple meetings and 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,” she added.

A source told CNN the Biden administration has been in contact with both French and Chinese officials over the issue.

Framatome was requesting a waiver to be able to use American technical assistance to fix the problem at the plant. The company did not respond to Insider’s email request for comment at the time of publication. 

Last month, Al Jazeera reported that there was growing concern over China’s construction of two new nuclear reactors that will produce plutonium, which could be reprocessed and used as a fuel source for other nuclear reactors.

The intended goal of the reactors is to produce non-fossil-fuel-based renewable energy, but it’s unclear if there’s any intention to use the reactors for civilian energy, or if it could be used to produce nuclear weapons. 

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