Blast at French Nuclear Fuel Site

Monday, September 12, 2011 @ 10:09 AM gHale


One person died and at least three others hurt today in an explosion at the Marcoule nuclear site in southern France.

The Nuclear Safety Authority said there have been no radiation leaks outside of the plant, which treats nuclear waste with little radioactivity.

RELATED STORIES
PA Reactor gets Safety Downgrade
Flooded Nuke gets NRC Downgrade
NRC Rule: Update Evacuation Plans Near Nukes
Nuke Plant Safety Rules Inadequate

The Agency for Nuclear Safety (ANS) said the cause of the explosion was a fire near a furnace in the Centraco radioactive waste storage site.

Three other people suffered injuries in the explosion, the statement said. Staff at the plant reacted to the accident according to planned procedures, it said.

The Marcoule site is in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea.

One person is dead and others injured after an explosion at the Marcoule nuclear site.

One person is dead and others injured after an explosion at the Marcoule nuclear site.

The accident occurred at 11:45 a.m. in France. The Marcoule site does not house any nuclear power reactors. It is involved with the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and operates a pressurized water reactor used to produce tritium.

The Marcoule nuclear site produces a fuel called MOX made from weapons-grade plutonium. The fuel can then see use commercial nuclear reactors.

Two reprocessing sites in France, La Hague and Marcoule “contain over 90 percent of France’s radioactive waste inventory. Their inventories include spent fuel, separated plutonium, large quantities of liquid and vitrified high-level waste, and various types of intermediate, transuranic and low-level radioactive wastes,” according to the International Panel of Fissile Materials.

The fuel is controversial, and a number of environmental groups have lined up against its use, saying the plants that process the highly radioactive material are dangerous places.



Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.