September 12, 2011
One person has been reported killed and four injured in an explosion at a nuclear waste processing plant in France.
An oven reportedly exploded at the Marcoule nuclear site near Nimes in the south of France. The site produces MOX fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons, and is partly used by the French nuclear power company Areva.
Part of the process involves firing superheated pellets of plutonium and uranium in an oven to reduce them in size to make them easier to store.
Local newspaper Midi Libre reported that one person had been killed and four others injured, including one seriously, in the explosion at 11.45am (10.45 BST).
The papers said the body of one male worker at the plant had been “found carbonised”, but it added that there was no evidence that the explosion had “caused any radioactive leak”.
A spokesman for the French atomic energy authority told journalists: “For the moment, there is nothing coming out.”
The French nuclear safety authority said in a statement that the explosion had taken place in an oven used to melt metallic waste of a “weak and very weak” level of radioactivity.
Cécile Duflot, secretary general of the political party Europe Ecology, called for “real time” and “transparent” information on the incident on Twitter.