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Bouygues rebuts nuclear safety findings

27 Jun 11 Bouygues Construction has issued a statement saying that it challenges the findings of a report by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) concerning under-reporting of accidents at a reactor site in Flamanville.

Bouygues said that it firmly refutes any intention not to report accidents on the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) and has taken no initiatives either to avoid informing the work inspectorate or to distract it from surveillance.

Bouygues Construction said that, as soon as work began, extremely clear procedures were established by EDF for all those involved in the project and for medical staff. The procedures clearly state that all accidents, however minor, must always be reported and traceable. Medical treatment forms, filled in prior to drawing up accident  reports, are sent in a fully transparent manner to people working on the site, said the company.

"It would appear that, unbeknownst to the member companies of the consortium responsible for civil engineering, some of these forms were not filled in correctly by staff at the inter-company infirmary," said the statement. "Any of the missing reports mentioned by the press can only be the result of inappropriate initiatives on the part of infirmary staff. The traceability of all medical treatment has nevertheless been ensured through an infirmary register, which is protected by medical secrecy rules."

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It added: "To avoid any confusion and ensure the transparency of medical follow-up, the management of the site has firmly reminded medical staff and site employees on a number of occasions of the need to strictly observe the procedures established by EDF and refrain from any personal initiative in this matter. Management has never had any intention of asking a person not to report an infirmary visit. Neither has there ever been the slightest intention, tolerance or instruction that would lead to the direct or indirect non-reporting of an occupational accident, however slight."

Safety is the number-one priority of all those  working on the EPR site, said Bouygues. "Considerable resources are devoted day and night to ensuring the highest safety levels. In particular, the site has introduced an ambitious training policy that exceeds legal requirements by a factor of three. And some 25 people are dedicated entirely to the safety of civil engineering work at the site."

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