Worrys about Marcoule Plutonium Generator Explosion in France

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The plant at Marcoule, where there has been an explosion that caused the deaths of at least one person and injuring four others , was built in 1956 and is one of the most important nuclear sites in France.

Located in the Gard department, installed three first generation reactors that were later disbanded.

This complex is the first conducted plutonium experiments for both civilian and military use .

It was in the 70’s when a prototype was installed Phoenix power to obtain plutonium.


The nuclear charge of Greenpeace Spain, Carlos Bravo, believes the event is “very troubling” because Marcoule stored waste military experiment designed to build the atomic bomb and French reactors like the phoenix and the “UNGG” graphite.

“They are fast reactors, players with plutonium fuel, military experiments linked to the known little but have proved a commercial failure because of their dangerousness,” he said.

“The plant will store many radioactive waste plant is very large and complex to very complex activities of a huge danger. This is a very disturbing news, “says Carlos Bravo.



The nuclear campaigner for Ecologists in Action, Francisco Castejon, Marcoule has indicated that it is a complex waste treatment and research, where he also develops the French program of recycling of radioactive waste : “It is highly polluting activities and a danger of which we had warned. ”


Source: www.abc.es, via Enformable

Phénix (French for phoenix in all the meanings) was a small-scale (gross 264/net 233 MWe) prototype fast breeder reactor, located at the Marcoule nuclear site, near Orange, France. It was a pool-type liquid-metal fast breeder reactor cooled with liquid sodium. It generated 590 MW of thermal power, and had a breeding ratio of 1.12 (12% more plutonium produced than consumed), but normally had to be stopped for refueling operations every 2 months. Phénix continued operating after the closure of the subsequent full-scale prototype Superphénix in 1997. After 2004, its main use was investigation of transmutation of nuclear waste while also generating some electricity. Phénix was shutdown in 2010.

The Marcoule site, with the Phénix reactor on the left side

Construction of Phénix began in November 1968. The first connection to the French national electricity grid was in December 1973. The Phénix reactor was finally shut down by the end of 2009.

The ASTRID (Advanced Sodium Technical Reactor for Industrial Demonstration) reactor, with a power generating capacity of 600 MWe, is likely to succeed Phénix in its role as a French-built sodium-cooled fast reactor and is also part of the international Generation IV reactor programme. It is envisaged to be built in the 2015-2020 time frame, next to the old Phénix reactor at the Marcoule site.

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