France: Fourth nuclear incident in a fortnight

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France: Fourth nuclear incident in a fortnight

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Nuclear inspectors in France are studying a report into the country’s fourth radiation leak in a fortnight.

In the latest incident, around a hundred workers at the Tricastin power station in south eastern France were contaminated with low-dose radiation during maintenance work.

France has 19 nuclear power stations supplying it with nearly 80 per cent of its electricity. It is more reliant on atomic power than any other country in the world.

Doctors say there is no risk to the health of the contaminated workers, but questions are being raised about the health of the French nuclear network.

At the beginning of July, in a different part of the same Tricastin complex, 30 cubic metres of liquid containing uranium was spilled into a watercourse.
That prompted the environment minister to order tests at all French nuclear power plants.

Elsewhere last week, at the St Alban-St Maurice site, 15 workers were lightly contaminated.

And at a nuclear fuel factory at Romans-sur-Isere, inspectors found a cracked pipe which they believe might have been defective for years.

The French Nuclear Safety Agency has pointed out that hundreds of low-grade incidents are recorded each year.