Monday, September 12, 2011

Deadly Explosion at Nuclear Site

MARSEILLE, France (Reuters) - 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.
Police also said there was no contamination outside the site, which is about 30 km (18 miles) from the city of Avignon and about 80 km (50 miles) from the Mediterranean coast.
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.
(Reporting by Jean-Francois Rosnoblet; Additional reporting by Marion Douet and Muriel Boselli in Paris; Writing by Catherine Bremer; Editing by Kevin Li

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