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Monday, September 12, 2011

Explosion at French nuclear facility

Here are the details as of now on the explosion at the French nuclear waste processing facility in Marcoule - in Southern France.

-The explosion occurred in or near a furnace that is used to melt down metal that has been slightly radioactively contaminated and is thus suitable for reprocessing by melting. This is not in itself an inherently highly dangerous practice and is a necessary step in processing some contaminated metals.

-No nuclear excursion of any sort was involved; this is not a nuclear accident in the sense of a reactor being involved, but rather in the sense that an accident (a chemical explosion) has occurred at a facility that handles nuclear waste material.

-This site does not only receive material from decommissioned nuclear plants or material removed from nuclear plants, but also from research and medical fields as well.

-One person has been confirmed killed. Four more are injured, one critically.

-There is no radioactive release to the environment of any kind at this time.

-This facility is operated by Electricite de France, or EDF. Perhaps more specifically it is operated by a subsidiary of EDF called SOCODEI.

-The ASN, the French nuclear authority did activate its emergency center. They are kept advised of all developments.

-The fires were out within two hours.

-Some reports have stated that there either is, or was, a tritium production reactor at the site. I will check this out, although it appears irrelevant.

These are the details as they are known now. Keep watching this blog and the others hot linked from the sidebar for new details.

1:40 PM Eastern Monday September 12, 2011

UPDATE: ANS indicates NO nuclear reactor at that site.

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