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A nuclear waste disposal center in France explodes

9/13/2011 10:29:30 (Views: 9/13/2011 10:29:30)

An explosion at a nuclear waste treatment center affiliated with the Marcule nuclear power plant in southern France on the 12th killed one person, injured four, and injured one. French authorities said the explosion did not cause a leak of radioactive material.

The accident occurred around 11:45 am local time (around 19:45 Beijing time). French nuclear safety regulator "Nuclear Safety Authority" said that the incident's nuclear waste treatment center had no nuclear reactor and one of the two nuclear waste treatment furnaces at the center exploded.

Agence France-Presse quoted the Nuclear Security Agency as saying: "Preliminary reports indicate that a furnace used to melt low- and very-low-level metal waste exploded."

The French Atomic Energy Commission says the nuclear waste treatment centre is part of a company owned by EDF. "This furnace typically handles two types of nuclear waste," said a French power company spokesman. "One is metal waste, such as valves, pumps, and tools; the other is combustible waste, such as work clothes or Gloves. "

The French Interior Ministry said the dead were killed by the explosion and the wounded were "not contaminated by nuclear waste." After the explosion, no personnel were transferred from the center, and no staff members were restricted in movement.

After the incident, local police and firefighters rushed to the scene for rescue. The fire department said it had established a safety radius around the nuclear facility, but declined to give further details.

No leakage of nuclear material

A French Ministry of Energy spokesman said that although one person was killed and at least four were injured, the explosion "did not cause any leakage of radioactive material".

A French EDF spokesman said: "This is an industrial accident, not a nuclear accident ... the fire caused by the explosion has been contained."

Environment Minister Natalie Kochushko-Morize is expected to arrive at the scene later on the 12th, "to help make an accurate assessment of the possible radiation effects of this incident."

"As of now, no external influences have been found," said an official from the Ministry of Environment.

An adviser to the Ministry of the Environment told Agence France-Presse: "There are multiple detectors outside the (treatment furnace), no radioactive material has been detected, and the building is intact ... we do not yet know the cause of the explosion."

Later on the 12th, the French Nuclear Safety Agency officially declared the accident "end" and lifted the emergency response. "There was no radiation danger or the need to protect the population."

The Nuclear Safety Agency said that although the accident has ended, it will continue to maintain contact with the local government and EDF to assist and urge the parties concerned to thoroughly investigate the cause of the accident.

French power shares plunge

The Makule nuclear power plant was put into operation in 1955 and is one of the oldest nuclear power plants in France.

The incident was about 80 kilometers from the Mediterranean coast, about 20 kilometers north of the historic French city of Avignon. AFP reports that in the current season, Avignon is crowded with tourists.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has contacted France to learn more about the nature of the explosion.

France is one of the countries using the most nuclear energy in the world. Nuclear energy meets about 70% of France's electricity needs. After a radiation leak at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan this year, France has conducted pressure tests on 58 domestic nuclear reactors.

In June this year, France stated that it would invest 1 billion euros (about 1.4 billion U.S. dollars) in the development of nuclear energy and strengthen nuclear safety research.

Following the 明升体育 of the explosion that day, EDF's stock price fell sharply, falling more than 6%.

According to Xinhua News Agency reporter Li Liangyong

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