IRE institutes safety measures

5th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

The nuclear facility in Fleurus has approved of a series of safety measures following a radioactive leak incident in August.

5 September 2008

BELGIUM -- The board of directors of the Institute of Radioactive Elements (IRE) in Fleurus, near Charleroi, has approved a series of safety measures following a radioactive leak incident.

Three work groups will be established at IRE, each concentrating on different aspects.

The first work group adapts the installations and procedures, and will make sure that security measures are applied each time production is resumed after having been stopped.

The second group is tasked with reorganising the security system itself. The third work group must ensure that such an incident, similar to the one that happened 10 days ago, can never happen again.

The director of IRE, Jean-Michel Vanderhofstadt is tasked with determining what happened in the lead-up to the incident, and analysing the series of ensuing mistakes.

Earlier this week, Energy Minister Paul Magnette criticised the IRE and the Federal Agency of Nuclear Control (FANC) for not dealing with the incident promptly.

The IRE manufactures lightly radioactive material which is used in treatments for cancerous tumours. Due to a defect with the computer that measures the emissions of the chimney, the company did not discover that there was an accumulation of radioactive iodine and some of it leaked out.

In a statement, the board of directors apologised for the leak incident: "We regret the incident and the impact it had on the nearby villages and companies and our own employees… Communication with the nearby inhabitants will be improved."

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