Explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

Sep 12th, 2011

AN explosion at a French nuclear site killed at least one person and injured four more, the state nuclear regulator said, as emergency services warned of the threat of a radiation leak.

It was not immediately clear how serious the situation is but emergency services said there is a risk of a radioactive leak after an explosion in an oven at the Marcoule nuclear site, near the city of Nimes in southern France.

The site is partly used by French nuclear giant Areva to produce MOX fuel which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons.

Part of the process involves firing superheated plutonium and uranium pellets in an oven.

The blast hit the Centraco nuclear waste treatment centre belonging to the Socodei subsidiary of national electricity provider EDF, an official for the Atomic Energy Commissariat (CEA) said.

“For the time being nothing has made it outside,” the offical said, asking not to be named.

A security perimeter has been set up around the installation, firefighters said, without being able to provide further details.

Officials in the Gard region confirmed the explosion but also said they could not give any more information.

Source: Theaustralian.com.au

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