Explosion at nuclear plant in France, with ‘no radiation risk’
An explosion has occurred at a nuclear facility in northern France, causing minor injuries but no risk of nuclear leak.
A fire caused the explosion in a “non-nuclear” part of EDF’s Flamanville nuclear power plant in northern France on Thursday, causing the shutdown of one of the two pressurized water reactors at the facility.
In a statement, EDF said that the fire had been brought under control by its team there, adding that reactor number 1 had been disconnected from the grid.
Meanwhile, EDF and a local government official said that five people suffered smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries, adding that there was also no associated nuclear leak.
“It is a technical incident. It is not a nuclear accident,” senior local official Jacques Witkowski told AFP.
He said that authorities had ruled out sabotage as cause of the blast, adding that a ventilator had exploded outside the nuclear zone at the plant.
“It’s all over. The emergency teams are leaving,” he added.
Another senior local official, Olivier Marmion, also said that the blast was a “significant technical event” but “not a nuclear accident.”
The Flamanville facility, located in a commune of the same name, was built in the 1980s and has two 1,300-megawatt reactors. A third reactor is being built at the site, which will be the world’s largest when it goes into operation in late 2018.
France relies heavily on nuclear power for electricity production. Nuclear reactors generate about 75 percent of France’s electricity supply.