Breaking News: Explosion at Mox-Generating Marcoule Nuclear Station in France Kills One and Wounds 4 More

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An explosion at a nuclear plant in France has killed one person, injured three others and may have caused radiation to leak from the plant, French media reported today.

The Marcoule site is located in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea.

 The explosion reportedly took place in or near a foundry used to melt the waste, which has varying levels of radioactivity.



Source: MetroFrance

When contacted by Metro , Jean Revest , spokesman for the Anti-Nuclear Collective Vaucluse appears more worried him:

“What is certain is that there are leaks. The average level of radiation that we measure a few miles of the site is higher that it is usually after the accident. “

 “We are in touch with employees on the site claiming to be confined, he has said.

It is a building of several hundred square meters that exploded.

There have been an incident at Marcoule five months ago “. According to the ASN, May 25, 2011, a level 1 incident occurred in the incineration plant installation Centraco : detection of the fire alarm did not work. The system was repaired four days later.


Olivier Isnard, an emergency manager at France’s Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety said that the explosion took place in the foundry of the waste processing plant, which was melting down about four tons of used radioactive metal containing at least 67,000 becquerels of radiation.

Isnard also spent a month in Japan as an adviser in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima power plant in March.


“I expect these will confirm that there has been no environmental impact,” said Mr. Isnard,



 From Hindustan Times:

There is a risk of a radioactive leak after an explosion killed at least one person and injured four others at the Marcoule nuclear site in the south of France, the state regulator said.

National electricity provider EDF confirmed the initial death toll following the explosion in an oven at the site in the Rhone Valley near the southern city of Nimes.

One of the injured is in a serious condition, France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said.


The Marcoule Nuclear Plant Location Is Obscured By Public Mapping Services Like Google Maps


The site is partly used by French nuclear giant Areva to produce MOX fuel which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons. 

Operational since 1956, Marcoule is a gigantic site run by the atomic energy organization Commissariat à l’Énergie Atomique (CEA) and Areva NC.

Diversification of the site was started in the 1970s with the creation of the Phénix prototype fast breeder reactor, and is nowadays an important site fordecommissioning nuclear facilities activities.

Since 1995, the MELOX factory produces MOX from a mix of uranium and plutonium oxides. MOX is used to recycle plutonium from nuclear fuel; this plutonium comes from the COGEMA La Hague site.


Evangelia Petit of the Agency for Nuclear Safety said Monday an explosion had taken place but declined to provide any further details.

It hit the Centraco nuclear waste treatment centre belonging to the Socodei subsidiary of national electricity provider EDF, said a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Commissariat (CEA).

“For the time being nothing has made it outside,” a spokesman said.

A security perimeter has been set up around the installation, firefighters said, without being able to provide further details.

Officials in the Gard region confirmed Monday’s explosion but also would not elaborate.

There is no clear information immediately available as to how much risk the incident poses.

The local Midi Libre newspaper, on its web site, said an oven exploded at the plant, killing one person and seriously injuring another.

Three other people have been hospitalized with lighter injuries in the explosion, the paper said.

Last March, a level 2 incident had already occurred in the same plant (on a scale up to 7). This incident was initially reported as “level 1” by Areva, but after reviewing the case, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) decided to classify it as “level 2”. The ASN asserted it was “the failure of several safety requirements of the installation.”

The accident occurred at 11:45 a.m. (0945 GMT, 5:45 a.m. EDT) in a plant that treats nuclear waste operated by a subsidiary of France’s EDF electricity company, the report said.

In Vienna, an official at the IAEA, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on record, said the agency was in contact with French authorities “trying to learn more about the nature of the explosion.”


The site housed a number of the first generation French UNGG reactors, of which have all been shut down.

Since then, it has also operated a pressurized water reactor that was used for the purpose of producing Tritium. Cooling for all of the plants comes from the Rhône river.

Unit Type Net power Total power Construction start Construction finish Commercial operation Shut down
Marcoule G1[1] UNGG reactor 2 MW 1955 07.01.1956 15.10.1968
Marcoule G2 UNGG reactor 38 MW 43 MW 01.03.1955 22.04.1959 22.04.1959 02.02.1980
Marcoule G3 UNGG reactor 38 MW 43 MW 01.03.1956 04.04.1960 27.05.1981 20.06.1984


This webcam is located near the facility, but has mysteriously been shut down for some reason.


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