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Blast kills man at nuclear waste site

Firefighters fear radioactive leaks after the accident at Marcoule in the Gard this morning, officials have said

Firefighters and the prefect have warned of potential radioactive leaks after a man was killed in an explosion at a nuclear waste treatment plant in the Gard.

Regional newspaper Midi Libre said a furnace had blown up at around 11.45, killing the man and injuring four others, one of them seriously. The latter was flown to hospital by helicopter, the paper said.

Firefighters have thrown a security cordon round the Centraco plant at Marcoule, which is run by an EDF subsidiary, Socodei.

So far, no harmful material has escaped from the installation but both firefighters and the prefecture have warned of the risk of a leak.

The plant processes waste considered to be of low or very low radioactivity, so as to make it stable and reduce its bulk. The explosion was in a furnace used to melt it down.

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