France reminds us that nuclear power is never safe

If anybody needed a reminder that nuclear power is not safe, no matter what the respective authorities say, yesterday’s explosion at a nuclear waste processing facility in Southern France should have served that purpose.

The incident at the nuclear facility of Marcoule in the Rhône valley was not as bad as it could have been. The explosion occurred in a processing facility for mildly radioactive waste and no radiation was released into the environment. Nonetheless, one worker was killed and several others were injured. And the Marcoule site also includes facilities for manufacturing fuel rods and the plutonium used in France’s nuclear arsenal, plus it is in the vicinity of both the city of Avignon and one of France’s major wine growing areas, so it could easily have been worse. What is more, this wasn’t the first incident neither at Marcoule nor in France this year. Indeed, incidents at nuclear facilities and power stations in France are depressingly common.

All of which goes to show that nuclear power isn’t safe.

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