To end up at the center of the tug of war between contractor and suppliers are the 1,086 documents regulating the technical aspects of Cemex construction. Franco Garella, project manager and representative of the Cemex 2023 consortium, explains a Wired that the problem is that they are”based on Ped. legislation They must be approved for equipment in which radioactive liquids pass under pressure fromInail, which however uses the VSR legislation as a reference”. In essence, the clash is about standards. Sogin used Ped rules (which is the Pressure equipment directive European Union 2014), while Cemex 2023 states that it has to switch to Inail’s VSR (which stands for container stability check). A task that it is also willing to do, as long as the public spa recognizes the burden. “Sogin must authorize us to modify”, claims Garella.
The battle over documents
Sogin, however, explains a Wired that “there different Ped/Vrs approval affects only 5% of the construction works of the Cemex complex while the remaining 95% are not affected”. And he adds that the project “has been prepared according to the best international standards which have foreseen for the mechanical systems under pressure, about thirty devices compared to the 600 envisaged overall, the application of the Asme regulation (American Society of Mechanical Engineers). A choice approved by the Italian supervisory authority Isin [Ispettorato nazionale per la sicurezza nucleare e la radioprotezione, ndr]”. According to what the decommissioning company reconstructs, “in the tender phase for the certification of pressure equipment designed according to the Asme standard, Sogin requested the European certification standard Ped (Pressure equipement directive) to allow the operation of the plant in a first phase with the use of non-radioactive but chemically analogous liquids to radioactive liquid waste that will have to be cemented”.
The company accuses of “total inertia” the contractor, “which is the manufacturer of the pressure equipment” and says that “since 2021 it has taken an active part with Inail to provide indications to the contractor in order to speed up the certification process. The indications received from Inail have allowed the simplification of the Ped certification to an approval according to the Vsr calculation rules. However, this is not followed by the contractor’s creation of the required components“.
Actually, in the last few weeks Sogin has started the procedures to terminate the contract also with Cemex 2023. Because she complains that she has “recorded over time, unfortunately, numerous, serious, breaches of contract and violation of the law by the contractor. The physical progress of the works al November 17, 2022 was just over 1% overall against an estimated time progress of more than 50%”. The nuclear company claims to have paid between May and August 2021 approximately 32 million “as an anticipation for activities in the workshop and for work on site”. But, she says, “against the sum disbursed, a consequent use of this sum for carrying out the works is not then paid. From October 2021 to June 2022, the average presence on the site between technicians and workers of the temporary grouping of companies was around 20 units per month compared to an average presence estimated by Sogin at around 50 units per month”.
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