One murdered, four wounded in French nuclear plant explosion

A nuclear waste treatment factory in the south of France was shaken by a blast Monday afternoon. The blast killed one and wounded four others. Regulatory authorities say that the event brought on no radiation leaks. France is the world's most nuclear-dependent country. Resource for this article: Explosion in French nuclear facility kills one, injures four

Damage to humans

Near the Mediterranean Sea, the event occurred at the Centraco nuclear sight in the Languedoc-Roussillon region at about 12:37 p.m. One person passed away while three were injured and one was burned seriously from an exploding oven.

Explosion led to fire

The explosion was not the only thing that happened. There was also a fire. According to the Nuclear Safety Authority, the fire was out and the situation was under control within the hour. The agency also stressed that no radiation leaks have been detected in the wake of the event.

A statement was made by the bureau:

"According to initial information, the explosion happened in an oven used to melt radioactive metallic waste of little and very little radioactivity. There have been no leaks outside of the site."

It is fairly safe

There is no nuclear reactor at the spot. This something EDF officials pointed out quickly as parent business of the company that operates Centraco. Low-level radioactive materials from the EDF energy plants are handled at the site mostly while there is a bit of medical research and hospital waste too. Weapons manufacturing is not involved in any of it, as reported by spokesperson Carole Trivi.

The Nuclear Safety Authority also said that the plant personnel acted in accordance with written safety procedures. No quarantine or evacuation was required.

Most nuclear-dependent country on the planet

France depends more heavily on nuclear energy than any nation on the planet. Approximately 80 percent of the France’s power is provided by its 58 working nuclear power plants. Treatment of nuclear waste in France isn't just from its own country. It comes from all around the world.

The March 11 tsunami in Japan that decimated the Fukushima nuclear plant reignited the debate over the safety of nuclear energy. Germany shut down eight of its older reactors following the March catastrophe. But France has continued to hold strong in its support of the industry. The nation’s plan to put $1.37 billion in to creating more plants is something French president Sarkozy promised to keep last June.

Getting nuclear waste treated

In the U.S., nuclear waste is stored in pools or in dry casks. Some believe that France’s example should be followed as it is processed and re-used. Ed Lyman is a United States scientist. He said that a lot of low-level waste comes out of nuclear processing plants. He pointed to today's incident in France as a reminder of the risk of dealing with even those low-level radioactive materials.

Citations

Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/12/france-nuclear-plant-explosion-marcoule_n_958130.html

CNN: http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/europe/09/12/france.nuclear/

Wall Street Journal: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904353504576566323236433558.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

WebElements: the periodic table on the WWW [http://www.webelements.com/]

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