Spanish nuclear plant leak may be worse than thought

23rd April 2008, Comments 0 comments

Radioactive particles found on a lorry that transported scrap metal from the plant sparks off fear that more will be affected by the leak.

23 April 2003

MADRID - Spain's Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) on Tuesday suggested that a November leak from a Spanish nuclear power plant may be worse than thought after radioactivity was found on a lorry that transported scrap metal from the plant.

The discovery could mean that radioactive particles have been carried to a distance of dozens of kilometres outside the Asco I plant, instead of remaining within its confines, as had been believed so far, according to media reports.

The lorry took scrap metal from the Asco I plant near the eastern coastal city of Tarragona to a nearby dumping site. The metal itself was not contaminated, the CSN said.

The CSN said that some 1,600 people were undergoing health checks, twice as many as had initially been planned.

The leak occurred during refuelling in late November.

The director and protection chief of the Asco I plant were sacked recently after the leak turned out to have been 100 times more serious than the plant said in its initial report to the CSN.

Radioactive particles have been discovered within the plant complex until recently.

More than 850 people have already undergone health checks, including employees of the nuclear plant and others, such as visiting schoolchildren, who entered it. No evidence of health damage has been found so far.

The CSN deemed any such damage "very unlikely."

The Asco I plant faces a fine of up to EUR 30 million. The environmental group Greenpeace has sued the plant, and asked the European atomic energy agency Euratom to intervene.

[dpa / Expatica]

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