EDF sentenced for crimes at Gravelines nuclear power plant

EDF sentenced for crimes at Gravelines nuclear power plant

The Gravelines nuclear power plant, in the north, on March 5, 2014 (AFP/PHILIPPE HUGUEN)

The Dunkirk Criminal Court on Monday sentenced EDF to fines of several thousand euros for operating the Gravelin nuclear power plant (North) without complying with the requirements of the Nuclear Safety Authority regarding water evacuation between April 2016 and December 2017.

On the other hand, EDF was acquitted of the crime of dumping a harmful substance into seawater, in the absence of evidence of any pollution that caused harm to health, plants or animals.

Several associations formed as civil parties, led by the “Nuclear Sortir du” network, began the direct citation procedure at the end of 2019, after the prosecution dismissed their complaint filed in January 2018.

In April 2016, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) noted the existence of pipelines not provided for in the November 7, 2003 order that allows EDF to continue to discharge liquid and gaseous waste to operate the site. In total, 11 outlets for the discharge of effluents into the sea, established by the EDF when the plant was established in the 1980s.

In the ruling consulted by AFP, the court ruled against the EDF for all 12 nuclear crimes referred to. It concluded that the ASN, in its three reports for the month of October and December 2017, stressed “the shortcomings with respect to the regulations in force at the time of events in terms of environmental monitoring and protection, which the EDF did not object to, and which pledged to remedy them as soon as possible.”

EDF has since made corrections to the required installations.

In a press release, the environmental associations are “pleased that the EDF got away with it,” but claim that since 2019, the ASN “observed” during three new inspections an “accumulation of neglect.”

During the May 17 hearing, EDF attorney Me Yvon Martinet argued that “no damage was done and no leaks were made by EDF or noticed by ASN” and that “ASN only raised points and EDF responded to all points.”

“The verdict began with an acquittal of the crime,” May Martinet said on Monday evening. “With regard to convictions and tickets, the decision to appeal has not been taken or not, and it is under study,” he added.

jpa-cor-eva / it

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