French Mayor Patrick Fauchon of Flamanville, site of a $5.1 billion nuclear reactor under construction, downplays the impact of nuclear waste...
“At the regional level, some towns accept having nuclear plants and others oil refineries,” Mr. Fauchon said. “I don’t ask Bretons if they’re happy about having pigsties and raising pigs, which creates another source of pollution.”
Good Lord, how I wish it was that simplistic.
At a nuclear plant in Tricastin, in Provence, 163 pounds of untreated uranium in liquid leaked from a faulty tank during a draining operation, seeping into the ground and then into rivers that flow into the Rhône.
While the two-year-old Authority for Nuclear Security, an independent body overseeing civilian nuclear activities, called it a category one (out of seven) incident that posed no health risk, the local prefect banned fishing, irrigation, swimming and the use of well water. The ban lasted 14 days, and the government criticized Areva, the nuclear group that is mostly state-owned, for not informing local authorities quickly or adequately. The treatment station, which was old, was being replaced, and remains shut.
Other minor accidents occurred in quick succession: a burst underground pipe at another site north of Tricastin, which leaked a tiny amount of uranium inside plant grounds, and then another accident at Tricastin itself, when 100 employees were contaminated by radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe.
The government, Areva and EDF have played down the accidents.
An aid to Jean-Louis Borloo, the minister of ecology, described it as a "microevent," and went on to suggest we're the ones with the problem because we simply don't understand.
Our system of security is extremely responsive and transparent, and that the media and public opinion needed a training period to understand how the system of nuclear security works in France.
Crossposted at B3