Areva mishandled uranium leak-French safety body
PARIS, July 11
PARIS, July 11 (Reuters) - France's nuclear safety authority (ASN) said on Friday that Areva-subsidiary Socatri had poorly managed a leak of liquid containing uranium that occurred in southeastern France this week.
The nuclear watchdog inspected the site on Thursday.
"The management of the crisis by the company involved has shown omissions in terms of communication to the authorities," the ASN said in a statement.
A formal report on the event will be delivered to France's attorney general, the ASN said, adding that the incident was officially classified at level one on the International Nuclear Event Scale.
The scale has seven levels, the lowest of which is zero.
Areva CEPFi.PA said late on Tuesday that 30 cubic metres of liquid containing uranium, which was not enriched, was accidentally poured on the ground and into a river at the Tricastin nuclear site.
The incident occurred on Monday evening and was only reported to the ASN early on Tuesday, drawing sharp criticism from green groups such as Greenpeace France.
The inspection also revealed that security measures put in place by Socatri to prevent further leaks were not satisfactory, and that operational conditions at the site at the time of the event displayed irregularities.
The ASN also indicated that Socatri had ignored a leak found in tank a week ago.
ASN's local official Philippe Ledenvic said the error was "rare" and "unacceptable".
The ASN added it had asked Socatri to halt the arrival of liquid effluent for treatment at the site and for security measures to be put in place.
The nuclear watchdog requested a reinforced surveillance plan with regular tests on rivers and groundwater.
Local authorities have maintained bans on fishing and swimming in the affected areas, as well as the use of contaminated water for consumption or irrigation. (Reporting by Joseph Tandy and Catherine Lagrange)
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