"Explosion at French Nuclear Site Leaves One Person Dead"

"PARIS — One person was killed and four were injured Monday afternoon in an explosion at a nuclear waste treatment site in southern France, according to the French Nuclear Safety Authority."

"The authority and local police officials said there had been no radiation leak. About five hours after the explosion, the authority announced that the episode was over. The site, about 20 miles from Avignon, has no nuclear reactors, the authority said. A spokesman for the French power utility Électricité de France, which owns the site, said, 'It is an industrial accident, not a nuclear one.'

Olivier Isnard, an emergency manager at France’s Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety, said the explosion took place in the foundry of the waste processing plant, which was melting about four tons of used, mildly radioactive metal objects. The cause of the explosion was not yet known, he said, but he emphasized that the level of radiation — about 67,000 becquerels — contained in the molten metal was minor."

Steven Erlanger and Nicola Clark report for the New York Times September 12, 2011.

Source: NY Times, 09/13/2011