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Explosion at French Nuclear site

Dear Reader,

I have become aware that a fatal accident has occurred at a place in France called Marcoule. The Guardian has reported it as having occurred at a “nuclear waste processing site”, but I think that is a bit of a misleading comment. Marcoule is more than just waste processing. It also has reactors and research on site.

From my own experiences the Marcoule site is a place where many different nuclear activities occur. Yahoo news reported that the accident occurred at the Centraco site which is owned by EDF rather than being the Marcoule site.

The BBC has reported that the part of the site where the explosion has occured is a place where decommissioning waste is processed.

Some form of oven or furnace has exploded, the comments by the French nuclear authority that the oven was used for “metallic waste of a weak and very weak level of radioactivity” suggests to me that it was not the oven for processing nuclear fuel. It may have been some furnace for the processing of scrap metal. Based on the fact that the main waste processed at the site is from  decommissioning suggests to me that it may be steel from old reactors which is being melted in a furnace.

The CEA have reported that no radioactive release has occurred outside the plant, that the ventilation and containment systems of the plant are still working OK. THe CEA web site is currently down, I suspect it is due to the interest in the accident.

When I get more details I will tell you what I know, I may also explain to you the process by which nuclear fuel is made later when I have more time to type.


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