News / Europe

French Nuclear Explosion Raises Safety Concerns in France

Rescue services evacuate an injured person after an explosion at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site killed one person and injured four, southern France, September 12, 2011.
Rescue services evacuate an injured person after an explosion at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site killed one person and injured four, southern France, September 12, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

One person died and four people were injured in an explosion at a nuclear waste treatment site in France. The incident occurred as the United Nations nuclear agency begins a week-long meeting on nuclear safety and other major issues, including Iran's nuclear activities.

French authorities describe the explosion at the nuclear treatment facility as an industrial accident and say no radioactive leaks have been detected. The incident comes amid heightened concern about the safety of nuclear energy following the meltdown earlier this year at Japan's Fukushima-Daichi nuclear power plant. But French officials note there is no nuclear reactor at the site in southern France, where the explosion took place.

Nuclear safety also is on the agenda of a week-long board meeting at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. IAEA chief Yukio Amano gave an update on the Fukushima disaster as he opened the meeting on Monday.

"The agency's assessment now is that the reactors are essentially stable. And the expectation is that the cold shutdown of all the reactors will be achieved as planned," said Amano.

The IAEA's 35-member board is expected to approve steps to boost global nuclear safety standards during this week's meeting, although some diplomats reportedly fear the proposed regulations may be watered down. The European Union also has ordered so-called stress tests for all the region's nuclear reactors.

Amano also voiced concerns about Iran's nuclear activities. Western nations suspect Tehran is trying to build a nuclear bomb.

"The agency is increasingly concerned about the possible existence in Iran of past or current undisclosed nuclear-related activities involving military-related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile about which the agency continues to receive new information," he said.

Amano did say Tehran had been more open about some of its activities during a recent IAEA visit of its facilities. But he said it still needs to provide more information about others. He said he would provide new details backing up his concerns in the near future.

Iran recently has offered international inspectors full supervision of its nuclear activities - but only if international sanctions against the country are lifted. Tehran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes.

The IAEA board also will discuss North Korea's nuclear program, as well as Syria, which the IAEA suspects of having nearly completed a nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israel in 2007. Amano said IAEA staff will meet with Syrian officials on the matter in October.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More