Monday, 12 September 2011

Explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

Explosion at French nuclear plant of Marcoule

One person has been killed and four injured, one seriously, by an explosion at the southern French nuclear plant of Marcoule.
There were no radioactive leaks after the blast, caused by a fire near a furnace in a radioactive waste storage site, a French nuclear official said.
A security perimeter has been set up because of the risk of leakage.
The plant produces MOX fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons, but does not include reactors.

Marcoule nuclear plant

  • Used by French nuclear firm Areva for the clean-up and disassembly of nuclear installations
  • Also used a research centre of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)
  • Created in 1955 for plutonium production
  • Described on Areva website as one of France's oldest nuclear sites
It is a major site involved with the decommissioning of nuclear facilities.
The Centraco treatment centre belongs to a subsidiary of national electricity provider EDF.
The explosion hit the plant at 1145 local time (0945 GMT).
"For the time being nothing has made it outside," said a spokesman for France's Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Marcoule, one of France's oldest nuclear plants, is located in the Gard department in Languedoc-Roussillon region, near France's Mediterranean coast.
Nuclear energy provides more than 70% of France's energy needs.
All the country's 58 nuclear reactors have been put through stress tests in recent months, following the disaster at Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant which was hit by an earthquake and tsunami.

EDF's share prices fell by more than 6% as news of the blast emerged.

An explosion has occurred at a nuclear site in southern France, according to the country's nuclear safety watchdog.

The facility at Marcoule is a nuclear waste management site that does not include any reactors. The explosion took place near a furnace, an spokesperson for ASN, the watchdog, told Reuters.

Officials in the Gard region confirmed Monday's explosion but also said they could not give any more information.
The Marcoule site is located in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean coast.

1 dead, 4 hurt in explosion at French nuclear site

PARIS (AP) — One person died and another was seriously injured in an explosion Monday in a site that treats nuclear waste in southern France, the country's nuclear safety body said, adding that no radioactive leaks have been detected.
The Nuclear Safety Authority said three other people suffered lesser injuries in the blast at an oven in the Centraco nuclear site.
The Centraco site is located next to another nuclear site, Marcoule, located in Languedoc-Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea.
"According to initial information, the explosion happened in an oven used to melt radioactive metallic waste of little and very little radioactivity," the agency said in a statement.
Officials from France's EDF power company, whose subsidiary operates Centraco, stressed that there was no nuclear reactor on the site and that no waste treated at the site of the explosion came from a reactor.
Spokeswoman Carole Trivi said a fire broke out after the explosion, but it has since been brought under control.
The cause of the blast was not immediately known, and an investigation has been opened, Trivi said.
A news report posted on the website of the local Midi Libre newspaper said no quarantine or evacuation measures had been immediately undertaken.
Staff at the plant reacted to the accident according to planned procedures, the Nuclear Safety Authority said in a statement.
File photo of the French nuclear site of Marcoule in southeastern France

France is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other country in the world, with most of its electricity coming from nuclear reactors.
Associated Press writers Sarah DiLorenzo and Cecile Brisson in Paris contributed to this report.