Contact l Sitemap

home industries issues reasearch weblog press

Home  » Industries » Energy

FRANCE: French nuclear plant reveals plutonium level discrepancies

by AFP/ReutersDeutsche Welle
October 15th, 2009

The Cadarache research center near Marseille had stated it had eight kilograms of plutonium slated for decommissioning, but there were 22 kg found at the location during the operation.

The facility had a license to store more than 22 kg of plutonium, but authorities are nonetheless curious as to why the extra 14 kg went unregistered.

"We need to have some transparency in this matter because this is not normal," said the French junior environment minister, Chantal Jouanno.

France's nuclear safety watchdog, the ASN, said safety measures at the facility were reduced as a result of the quantity of plutonium registered there.

The ASN said the incident did not pose any threat to security, but has pushed for a re-examination of procedures ensuring the fissile material cannot be used to trigger a chain reaction.

The watchdog has also ordered that dismantling work at the facility be halted over worker safety fears.

Much focus has been given to the revelation that the extra plutonium was discovered in June but not reported until now.

French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said he "profoundly regretted that there was a delay between the discovery of the stocks and the decision to report them."

Henri Maubert, a spokesman for the Cadarache facility, said no effort was made to hide the discovery, and that administrators "were just waiting to get a better overall view" before informing the authorities.

The plant was used to produce fuel for nuclear power stations in France, which has the second largest network of nuclear facilities after the United States.




This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.