VIDEO. Subcontracting, incidents… is there a problem of loss of skills at EDF?

Is the increasingly frequent use of subcontracting beginning to pose problems at EDF? For this CGT manager interviewed by “Complement of the investigation”, it is obvious: “When you no longer exercise, a few years later, fifteen years, twenty years, the know-how, it disappears, in fact.” The use of subcontracting sometimes reveals situations that are surprising to say the least. Like those “EDF monitoring officers who had to train with the service provider to be able to acquire the skills they would need to monitor them”, as stated before the National Assembly Nicholas Spire, author of a report on the subject.

On the side of the leaders of the public company, it is a subject that thewe don’t like to approach. But Philippe Huet, a former deputy general manager of EDF, agreed to talk to journalist Sylvain Pak about it.

“We kind of took on this easy habit of outsourcing tasks. It’s a bit of a way of saying to ourselves, ‘They can do it cheaper, faster, and then I supervise and I control’ , and there is a know-how that has been lost, with that (…), I am not saying everywhere, but in many places.”

Philippe Huet, former deputy general manager of EDF

to “Further investigation”

Nuclear power remains EDF’s core business, which ‘”must master all the ins and outs”this habit that Philippe Huet considers problematic can also lead to potentially dangerous situations.

“Complementary investigation” thus returns to an incident which occurred in May 2020 at the Cattenom power plant, in Lorraine. The pumping of a leak of hydrazine, a highly toxic chemical, was entrusted to the personnel of a subcontractor who was not authorized to carry out this operation. Seized of this incident, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) noted that this leak could be linked to a confusion between two valves of chemical products by the EDF personnel of the plant.

“A lack of competence and rigor [chez] the nuclear operator EDF”

During this investigation broadcast on January 27, 2022, the magazine’s journalists were able to see that this is not an isolated case. At another subcontractor, Endel, an elected employee alerted his management last July to serious malfunctions by the operator EDF.

Here again, these would be errors made by EDF agents when handling the chemical product valves. “Dangerous situations or near-misses are on the increase”, writes the delegate in a letter that “Complement of investigation” has obtained. He denounces “a lack of competence and rigor in the collective behavior of the nuclear operator EDF”, and affirms that six power plants are concerned.

Extract from “EDF: a giant under tension”, a document to see in “Complément d’Enquête” on January 27, 2022.

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