Sunday, July 3, 2011

Explosion in nuclear plant in Occitania (SE France)

A explosion has rocked Tricastin Nuclear Power Plant, almost equidistant between Marseilles and Lyon this afternoon.

At the moment the information is scattered but I gathered this photo:

And this map:


The two towers are the cooling towers of Eurodif (fuchsia circles in pink area). A quick geometric evaluation produces the following result: the fire (and therefore the explosion) is in the nuclear power plant (centrale nucleaire EDF in the map, yellow), though it's unclear which reactor of the four it has. 

Lucas Whitefield reported that reactor number 2 has been closed but JDD[fr] says that it reactor no. 1 where the explosion took place. Whitefield also reported that the management has refused to comment (see Le Figaro[fr]). 

It also looks like the (surely radioactive) smoke is heading to Saint Paul, the town NE of the plant. 

Tricastin is one of the most important nuclear facilities on Earth: it is not only a nuclear power plant but also one of the main uranium enrichment sites worldwide and a nuclear weapons research center.

And worse of all: it is dangerously close to my home (even if the wind tends to blow in the good direction, to the SE or North). Time to emigrate?

Thanks to Energy News.

Update: according to several sites, the explosion and fire happened at a transformed at reactor no. 1 and not the reactor proper. The fire was suppressed in 20 minutes. Reactor no. 1 was stopped at the time of the incident. See for example The voice of Russia (chosen because it is in English).

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