A blast of escaping steam has triggered a fire alert at a French nuclear power station, officials said. French power supplier EDF said two people were slightly burnt in the incident at the Fessenheim power station in eastern France. Local officials said “oxygenated steam” was produced when hydrogen peroxide reacted with water in a reservoir. But Energy Minister Delphine Batho insisted the incident posed no risk to public safety. The power station, which has the oldest nuclear reactors in France, has been the target of regular anti-nuclear protests.
“It was not a fire, there was an outlet of oxygenated steam,” the local prefecture said, quoted by the French AFP news agency.
EDF said the escape had triggered the fire alarms but first reports of a blaze were unfounded. It said the two workers injured had been “slightly burnt through their gloves”. ”It was a problem that cropped up during a maintenance operation,” it said, in an “auxiliary building in the nuclear complex but not in the building housing the reactor.”
AFP also quoted Jean-Luc Cardoso, an official with the CGT union at the plant, as saying: “There was no fire, no death and two colleagues were slightly injured.”