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Explosion at France nuclear waste siteExplosion at France nuclear waste site
September 12, 2011
A furnace exploded at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site in southern France on Monday, killing one person, but there was
no leak of radioactive material outside the furnace, France's ASN nuclear safety watchdog said.
Four other people were injured, one seriously, in the blast at the Centraco site, owned by French power utility EDF and adjacent to the Marcoule nuclear research center. The site does not house any nuclear reactors.
The furnace that exploded is used to melt waste with levels of radioactivity ranging from low to very high, ASN said.
It did not immediately give a reason for the blast but said it was completely contained within the furnace. Staff at the plant reacted to the accident according to planned procedures, the watchdog said.
Police also said there was no contamination outside the site, which is about 18 miles from the city of Avignon and about 50 miles from the Mediterranean coast.
In Vienna, an official at the IAEA, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on record, said the agency was in contact with French authorities "trying to learn more about the nature of the explosion."
France — the world's most nuclear-reliant country — is carrying out stress tests on its 58 nuclear reactors in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
France nuclear Marcoule site explosion kills one
One person has been killed and four injured, one seriously, in a blast at the Marcoule nuclear site in France.
There was no risk of a radioactive leak after the blast, caused by a fire near a furnace in the Centraco radioactive waste storage site, said officials.
The owner of the southern French plant, national electricity provider EDF, said it had been "an industrial accident, not a nuclear accident".
The cause of the blast was not yet known, said the company.
The explosion hit the area at 11:45 local time (09:45 GMT). A security cordon was set up as a precaution.
But interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet later said there had been no leak of radiation, neither inside nor outside the plant.
None of the injured workers was contaminated by radiation, said officials. The worker who died was killed by the blast and not by exposure to nuclear material.
The Centraco treatment centre belongs to a subsidiary of EDF. It produces MOX fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons. There are no nuclear reactors on site
A nuclear waste site in southern France had an explosion Monday that killed one person, seriously burned another and slightly injured three others, France's nuclear safety body said.
The Nuclear Safety Authority said no radioactive leaks have been detected in the blast at 12:37 p.m. at an oven in the Centraco nuclear site.