Explosion kills one at French nuclear waste plant; no leak found


No radioactive leaks have been found following an explosion Monday at a nuclear-waste facility in southern France that killed one person and injured four others — including one person who was left with serious burns.

None of the injured were exposed to radiation, and the cause of the blast remains unknown, according to a statement from France’s Nuclear Safety Authority. The explosion was said to be under control within an hour of the blast that occurred shortly about 12:37 p.m.

The explosion took place within an industrial oven used at the nuclear-waste processing facility called Centraco. The facility is located alongside a nuclear site, Marcoule, in the Languedoc-Roussillon region near the Mediterranean Sea.


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

France is considered to be the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, even though the energy source has its critics there. By contrast, Germany plans to shut all its nuclear plants by 2022.

Still, France is in the process of reviewing its facilities as a safety precaution in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year.

Given the sensitivity of the issue, France’s EDF power company, whose subsidiary operates Centraco, stressed that the facility does not treat waste from nuclear reactors or the manufacture of weapons, according to EDF spokeswoman Carole Trivi said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.