The French judiciary has launched preliminary investigations into suspected cover-up of incidents at the Tricastin nuclear power plant.

About a dozen alleged violations are being investigated, including failure to report incidents, endangering people and fraud, as AFP learned from investigators in Marseille. A senior employee of the Tricastin nuclear power plant in southern France filed a lawsuit against the operator EDF in October 2021.

EDF and the nuclear regulator initially did not comment on this. According to his lawyers, the employee had tried in vain to draw the attention of his employer EDF and the Ministry of the Environment to the abuses. His lawyers spoke of “serious malfunctions with a view to safety and environmental protection”.

The EDF worker gave examples of a flood in August 2018 and an overproduction in June 2017 that either went unreported or was “downplayed” in importance. According to his lawyers, he had been demoted because of his tips and his refusal to participate in the cover-up of some incidents. He is also suing for workplace bullying.

The nuclear supervisory authority had stated that they had not noticed any evidence of cover-ups during their checks. Tricastin has been connected to the grid since 1980 and is one of the oldest nuclear power plants in France. Currently, 12 of the country’s 56 nuclear power plants are shut down due to known or suspected corrosion problems.

Due to the heat wave in recent weeks, two nuclear power plants had to be partially throttled because the heated cooling water could not be drained off due to the low water level in the rivers.