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2. Plant operation Following the coupling of the turbo-generator sets on December 30 and 31, 1995, the operation of the plant at 30 % of the nominal power lasted throughout the month of January. This operation permitted, on the one hand, profitable monitoring of the chemistry of the primary sodium via the behaviour of the cold traps and the plugging meters, for which a cleaning procedure was successfully tested, and, on the other hand, the detection of the impeded displacement of certain sodium circuit piping, which resulted in various actions whose appropriateness was later confirmed during monitoring of piping displacement at higher power.
A first round of the systematic review of the reactor operating experience has been completed for the absorber rod drive mechanisms, main sodium pumps and intermediate heat exchangers (IHXs) which has revealed sensitive points for EFR. Examples are the importance of succeeding with the EFR features which prevent the sodium aerosol problems on the absorber mechanisms, the need to confirm adequate operational flexibility whilst avoiding the check valve at the primary pump outlet and to ensure full benefit is taken of the piston seal experience for the IHX / pool boundary replacing the gas bell originally selected for EFR.
This opinion was shared by the Government, which, in a communique, stressed the scientific interest of more general scope presented by Superphenix as a vast source of fast neutrons, notably as regards the research required in the framework of the law of December 30, 1991, relative to long-lived radioactive waste management. Finally, in spite of the decrease in the number of visitors following the reinforcement of the safety measures taken by the Government (the anti-terrorist Vigipirate plan), Creys-Malville maintained its efforts with respect to information and dialogue throughout the year, and, in particular, continued to distribute its weekly news bulletin concerning the operation of the facility.