French Nuclear Power Plant Blast

Oh well there goes any chance of us actually building the nuclear power stations we need. And I hope the French are more or less ok.


Book Reviewer
The explosion appears to be in the waste processing facility and not in the reactor. So there will be a release of radioactivity, but its not a worst case scenario.

I wonder if it was a hydrogen explosion (like the Japanese nuclear plants). Water gets low in storage tank, rods overheat, red hot rods break down water into hydrogen and oxygen...

Sadly, there is one killed and three injured.

Google translate of the Le Figaro article:

An oven exploded Monday on the nuclear site of Marcoule in the Gard region, causing a risk of radioactive leakage, said the firefighters and the prefecture.

The incident took place in the center of society Centraco Socodei, a subsidiary of EDF, Codolet, said a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). "Right now, there is no release to the outside," he added.

A security perimeter was set up because of the risk of leakage, said the firefighters were not able at present to provide an assessment of the accident. The prefecture said not being able to communicate for now.

According to France 3 - Languedoc-Roussillon , there would be one dead and three wounded. The accident reportedly occurred following a fire in a storage site for radioactive waste. A security cordon is in place.


Book Reviewer
If the explosion was in a furnace, there may well have been water involved. There are two ways that could happen.

1) A lot of furnaces use electromagnetic induction to melt the change. Basically, there is a big electricity coil around the charge and that is used to create a rapidly changing magnetic field. The 'friction' heats the charge. The coil that carries the electricity is water cooled and if that leaked and the water came into contact with the change there would be a stream explosion. However, there is a protective device on the furnace called the 'earth leak circuit' that should automatically shut the furnace down before that happens.

2) A lot of radioactive fuel is kept under water because of the decay heat. If there was a cavity in the rod that filled with water, and then corroded shut, you could get a violent explosion in the furnace as the charge melts. Basically the trapped water turns into superheated steam at a thousand times the volume. I've seen that sort of steam explosion happen - it was ugly.

Will this impact on the price and availability of roquefort or champagne. If not, I do not really care.

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