Explosion at nuclear plant in southern France

Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — An explosion rocked the Marcoule nuclear plant in southern France on Monday, the country's nuclear safety body and local authorities said.

It was not immediately clear how serious the accident was or whether there were any victims. The Marcoule site is located in Langedoc Roussillon, in southern France, near the Mediterranean Sea.

Evangelia Petit of the Agency for Nuclear Safety said Monday an explosion had taken place but declined to provide any further details. Officials in the Gard region confirmed Monday's explosion but also would not elaborate.

The local Midi Libre newspaper, on its web site, said an oven exploded at the plant, killing one person and seriously injuring another. No radiation leak was reported, the report said, adding that no quarantine or evacuation orders were issued for neighboring towns.

Three other people have been hospitalized with lighter injuries in the explosion, the paper said.

The accident occurred at 11:45 a.m. (0945 GMT, 5:45 a.m. EDT) in a plant that treats nuclear waste operated by a subsidiary of France's EDF electricity company, the report said.

In Vienna, an official at the IAEA, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on record, said the agency was in contact with French authorities "trying to learn more about the nature of the explosion."

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George Jahn reported from Vienna.

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