Radioactive leak at Asco is 750 times more than disclosed

16th May 2008, Comments 0 comments

A new report by Spain’s nuclear watchdog says the amount of radiation emitted during the leak reached 176 becquerels.

16 May 2008

MADRID - The amount of radiation emitted by the Ascó nuclear power station in Tarragona during a leak in 2007 reached 176 becquerels, 750 times more that the plant's managers initially acknowledged, Spain's nuclear watchdog has disclosed in a new report.

In responses to questions posed by Greenpeace, the Nuclear Security Council (CSN) said that initial readings at the plant had been based on an "inadequate" measurement model, hence the subsequent revision.

The leak, which occurred on 27 November but went undetected until March, was classified as a level 2 incident on an ascending scale from 0 to 7, ranking it among the four most severe nuclear accidents ever to have occurred in Spain.

More alarming were the apparent efforts by the directors of the plant - jointly owned by power companies Iberdrola and Endesa - to cover up the severity of the incident. Two officials were fired, although Greenpeace is calling for more serious measures.

"[The CSN] admits that the plant operators acted maliciously, they manipulated readings and were irresponsible," Carlos Bravo, the head of Greenpeace's nuclear affairs division in Spain, said on Thursday.

"Their actions were criminal."

[El Pais / Expatica]

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