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Traces of uranium found on the Tricastin site: the DSIN and OPRI confirm the absence of any health impact

Press release

November 16, 2000

In a press release issued 16 November 2000, the DSIN (French Nuclear Installation Safety Directorate) and OPRI (Office for Protection against Ionizing Radiation), after a thorough inspection of the Tricastin site on 9 November, confirmed that the traces of natural uranium found on 23, 24 and 25 October by COGEMA had no health impact either inside or outside the site.

  • COGEMA, which makes daily samplings of atmospheric dust, had advised DRIRE (Regional Directorate of Industry, Research and the Environment), that it had found slightly above normal traces of natural uranium. These values had been recorded for three days, and then disappeared. Additional samplings taken at COGEMA's two neighboring industrial facilities (COMURHEX and EURODIF) confirmed these measurements.
  • Further inspection by the safety authority served to confirm that "no contamination has been detected inside the site" and that the measurements found do not incur "any health impact" for any persons who may have been exposed. According to the safety authority, "the only operation identified as likely to cause the release of radioactive material into the air" is the treatment of natural uranium fines on the COMURHEX-Pierrelatte site, although this facility could not be positively identified as the source of the traces observed.
  • During its inspection, the safety authority identified the need to modernize the equipment and the operating procedures of the facility concerned, classified ICPE (Classified Installation for Environmental Protection). COMURHEX-Pierrelatte, which has already initiated an ISO 14 001 certification procedure (environmental management) is closely examining every avenue for improvement. The necessary operations will begin shortly.

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