Blast at EDF's French nuclear plant, no nuclear risk

An explosion occurred at French utility EDF's Flamanville nuclear plant in northern France today, in which several people were injured. However, there was no nuclear risk from the explosion, French newspaper Ouest France reported on its web site, citing local police.

At least five people suffered light injuries in the blast that occurred shortly before 10 am local time (9am GMT) today.

EDF has confirmed that one reactor has been taken offline adding there is no nuclear risk.

"The fire was immediately brought under control by the plant's response team. As per normal procedure, the fire brigade went to the affected location and confirmed that the fire had been extinguished."

No information was given on the cause of the fire, which caused the number one reactor to be disconnected from the power grid.

''It is a significant technical event, but it's not a nuclear accident,'' a representative of the local prefecture said, adding that the accident occurred outside of the 'nuclear zone'.

Officials at EDF's Paris headquarters were yet to take stock of the incident while local officials at the plant in western France said the blast and fire in Flamanville 'does not cause radioactive leak'

Authorities said the blast took place in the turbine hall and confirmed there was no radioactive leak.

"A fire resulting in a minor explosion broke out in the turbine hall on the non-nuclear part of unit one at the Flamanville nuclear power plant," a spokesperson said.

Five people were treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation, with no serious injuries being reported immediately.

The Flamanville nuclear power plant is run by EDF Energy, which is the main contractor on the new £18bn Hinkley Point C station in Somerset.

It said there were no casualties in the incident or "consequences for safety at the plant or for environmental safety".