IAEA says seeks info from France about blast

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 12, 2011 9:58 AM

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. atomic agency is seeking information from France about Monday's explosion at a nuclear waste treatment site in the south of the country, its head said.

Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the IAEA's incident and emergency center had been activated and it had sent requests for information from French nuclear authorities.

"We are working on this issue," Amano told a news conference on the sidelines of a week-long meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation governing board.

A furnace exploded at the Marcoule nuclear waste treatment site in southern France, killing one person, but there was no leak of radioactive material outside the furnace, France's ASN nuclear safety watchdog said.

The IAEA board is later this week expected to approve an IAEA action plan to strengthen global nuclear safety in the wake of Japan's Fukushima accident in March.

Amano suggested the news from France showed the need to act on nuclear safety issues.

The IAEA came under fire in the first few days after the Fukushima emergency six months ago, with critics saying it initially provided scant and out-of-date information about the world's worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century.

The agency said it could only give the information it received from Japan.

(Reporting by Fredrik Dahl; Editing by Janet Lawrence)