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Leak smaller than thought

Leak smaller than thought

PARIS, July 9 (Reuters) – French nuclear firm Areva said on Wednesday that a leak of liquid containing uranium from a site in southeastern France was smaller than initially thought.
Areva said late on Tuesday that 30 cubic metres of liquid containing uranium, which was not enriched, was accidentally poured on the ground and into a river at the Tricastin nuclear site.
“Thirty cubic metres was poured but part of it was caught by a security system, which means that only 18 cubic metres actually fell on the ground and in the water,” a spokesman for Socatri, an Areva subsidiary, said.
The Prefecture of Vaucluse added that the leaked uranium should only be found in microgrammes in river water. “The risk for the population is therefore low,” the prefecture said in a statement.
The ASN said the uranium concentration stood at 12 grammes per litre.
The prefecture added that in surface waters, the levels of uranium have remained far more than the norm, but had significantly diminished since the leak occurred.
Tests carried out at local lakes showed no uranium contamination, meaning that 100 evacuated bathers have not been affected, the prefecture added.
By way of precaution, the Prefecture has banned all fishing, sailing and swimming in the affected area, as well as the use of affected waters for consumption or irrigation.
These precautionary measures, the prefecture added, will remain in force until further analyses are made available.
An evaluation of these measures was underway, the prefecture added.
The nuclear safety authority will carry out an inspection on July 10 to determine the causes of the accident.

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