Radiation leak risk after deadly French nuclear plant blast

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There is a risk of a radioactive leak after an explosion killed at least one person and injured four others at the Marcoule nuclear site in the south of France, the state regulator said.

National electricity provider EDF confirmed the initial death toll following the explosion in an oven at the site in the Rhone Valley near the southern city of Nimes.

One of the injured is in a serious condition, France's Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said.

The blast hit the Centraco nuclear waste treatment centre belonging to EDF subsidiary Socodei, said a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Commissariat (CEA).

The site is around 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the historic city of Avignon which is thronged with tourists at this time of the year.

"For the time being nothing has made it outside," a CEA spokesman said, asking not to be named.

A security perimeter has been set up around the installation, firefighters said, without being able to provide further details.

EDF's share price dropped over six percent on the news of the blast.

© 2011 AFP

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