NewsWorldArdèche: an EDF employee contaminated by a radioactive particle...

Ardèche: an EDF employee contaminated by a radioactive particle in a nuclear power station – BFMTV

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The particle has been removed, and the employee “will be subject to medical monitoring by occupational medicine” assures EDF.

An employee of the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power station (Ardèche) was contaminated by a “radioactive particle” on the back of his neck at the end of August in a controlled area, writes in a press release from the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN). Information which The Dauphiné Libéré had already spoken at the end of August.

“The operator of the Cruas nuclear power plant declared to the Nuclear Safety Authority a significant event relating to radiation protection concerning the exceeding, for an EDF employee, of an annual individual dose limit”, explains the ASN. The event was classified as level 2 on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Severity Scale (INES).

“Contamination has been detected in the ‘shoulder – head’ area”

This contamination was spotted on August 24. Two speakers have, that day, carried out a “check of the tightness of the air supplies of pneumatic valves”, specifies the press release. When checking out of this area, “contamination was detected in the ‘shoulder – head’ area of ​​one of the responders”.

The agent was taken care of by the medical service and the particle “was removed”, writes the ASN, but after evaluation, the exposure reached “a value higher than the regulatory limit set for the equivalent skin dose”, or 500 mSv (milliSievert). “The dose received by the caregiver for the whole body is for its part well below the annual regulatory limit”.

In a report dated August 27, EDF writes that “the employee continued his activity. He will be subject to medical monitoring by occupational medicine, complementary to the traditional monitoring of people working in controlled areas”. According to information from France Info, however, the individual must not work in a nuclear zone for 12 months.

“The origin of this contamination” could not be determined

Despite the investigations carried out, “the areas or points of contamination which may have been the source of this contamination could not be determined,” the statement said. EDF considers that the radioactive particle was present “from the entry of the worker into the reactor building until its withdrawal”.

Already in June 2020, a worker at this plant had been contaminated by “a dose greater than a quarter of an authorized annual individual dose limit”, then explained the ASN. The event had been classified at level 1 on the INES scale. Other reports of contamination were reported in August in France: one at the Cattenom plant (Moselle) Where at the Fessenheim plant (Haut-Rhin), both classified level 1.

FranceInfo notes that summer is the most favorable period for contamination, because it is the season for plant maintenance. In Cruas-Meysse, the incident also occurred while the affected employee was performing “visual checks on several valves in the reactor building of production unit n ° 2, currently in scheduled shutdown for maintenance”, emphasizes EDF.

In 2017, several Greenpeace activists broke into the site of the Cruas-Meysse nuclear power plant to “point the finger at security flaws” in certain areas of these plants. The activists were subsequently sentenced to a 4-month suspended prison sentence and fines of 500 euros.

Salome Vincendon BFMTV reporter

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