News is coming in about an explosion at Marcoule, a nuclear processing plant in southern France. One worker has died and four have been injured according to official reports. The explosion appears to have occurred in a furnace at Marcoule in a radioactive waste treatment plant at the Centraco center which is owned by Socodei, a subsidiary of EDF. Beyond Nuclear is following developments. Officials claim there has been no release of radioactivity although reports say there is a possibility for releases. Given "official" statements during the French Tricastin accident and, of course, Fukushima, Beyond Nuclear is conferring with colleagues in France to learn more and break through any opacity. Marcoule processes radioactive waste. It is also the site of a MOX (mixed oxide plutonium-uranium) fuel manufacturing facility - MELOX.
CRIIRAD, the independent radiological French monitoring laboratory already had monitors in place and so far is not seeing unusual levels of radioactive aerosols as a result of the explosion. Beyond Nuclear is monitoring their updates (in French) here.
No further updates on the aftermath of the explosion at the Marcoule facility have come in. The explosion took place in one of the ovens of the incinerator that melts low-level radioactive detritus mostly emanating from the country's 58 reactors. Nevertheless, the concerns - and the potential for a devastating outcome as a result of an accident at the multi-facility nuclear site, serve as a reminder of the risks that continue to be taken by prolonging the use of nuclear energy as an electricity source.