France experienced an explosion early today at a nuclear waste reprocessing plant. Although one is dead and four are injured; one with serious burns, and even though the explosion had to do with nuclear waste the immediate response is the same as every other nuclear incident over the past three decades, ‘don’t worry, be happy!’.
As of the time of this posting the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Association) has not produced or issued a statement.
Here is the direct text of the news releases from the operator of the facility and the French nuclear safety association;ASN, the French Nuclear Safety Authority, activated its emergency centre located in Paris XII at 12.30 following the accident that took place in Centraco (centre for treatment and conditioning of low level radioactive waste) located in Codolet near Marcoule (Gard, South-East of France).
An oven dedicated to melt low and very low radioactive metallic waste exploded inside the building. The radioactivity was contained inside the building.
According to a first estimations, there are one casualty and four injured persons, including one severely injured. None of them is contaminated.
There are no releases outside the installation.
The licensee activated its on-site emergency plan accordingly to the procedures.
Centraco is owned by SOCODEI. The installation is dedicated to the treatment and conditioning of low level radioactive waste, either by melting of metallic waste or by incineration of incinerable waste.
ASN is in permanent contact with the prefecture of Gard and the licensee. The division of ASN in Marseille is also following the situation and sent inspectors to the prefecture and to the site. And this was followed by a second news release telling all it is now considered a closed issue End of the event in Centraco (Gard) : press release #2.
The event that occurred this morning in Centraco, nuclear installation located near Marcoule site (Gard) is considered as closed.
The explosion of a furnace dedicated for the melting of the metallic radioactive waste triggered a fire that ended at 13h00 (11.00 UTC)
The building where the explosion occurred was not damaged. Injured people do not suffer from any radiological contamination and all measures conducted by the licensee outside of the building have shown no trace of radioactive contamination.
One worker died and 4 others have sustained injuries, one of whom suffered deep burns.
This event does not involve any radiological issue and no protective actions was required for the population.
ASN, the French Nuclear Safety Authority, has suspended its emergency organization; ASN is still in permanent contact with the prefecture of Gard and the licensee Socodei. ASN will conduct dedicated inspections in liaison with Labour inspection in order to analyse the reasons of the accident.
Centraco is owned by SOCODEI. The installation is dedicated to the treatment and conditioning of low level radioactive waste, either by melting of metallic waste or by incineration of incinerable waste. Read more here