A company responsible for a toxic leak in southwest France on Monday has been told to close part of its nuclear site after inspectors criticised a series of errors. Seventy five kilos of unenriched uranium seeped into the local water supply at the Tricastin plant run by Socatri, a subsidiary of French energy company Areva.
After today’s inspection, France’s nuclear safety watchdog has ordered its temporary closure.
Philippe Ledenvic of the nuclear safety authority said: “The procedural failings that we’ve recorded are not acceptable for a company of this type. It was a series of oversights and human errors that together led to this accidental spillage.”
Authorites say the leak poses only a low safety risk- level one on a scale from zero to seven – but anti-nuclear groups claim the accident is part of a wider problem.
Stéphane Lhomme of the “Sortir du nucléaire” collective said: “Socatri has illustrated the very seriously degraded state of all of France’s nuclear facilities, whether they’re nuclear reactors or any other kinds of nuclear plants.”
The matter may end up in court, with campaign groups threatening legal action against the nuclear safety authority and Areva.