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Anomaly during opening of a package from Andra

Press release

August 06, 2008

Socatri processes and packages low-level radioactive waste materials for Andra*. The materials originate mainly from hospitals and research laboratories and are sorted and packaged at the Socatri facility for shipping to a storage facility or incineration plant.

Socatri recently received a shipment whose contents were apparently not what was announced by one of the producers. The difference went undetected during reception of the shipment. The operators were unable to take appropriate measures, and the release of carbon 14 was higher than expected. As a result, Socatri’s authorized annual limit was slightly exceeded.

Andra launched an investigation for the producers in question.

The incident had no consequences for employees, local residents or environment, as the impact of the release was much lower than the exposure limit for the public. However, because the release limit was exceeded, treatment activities were suspended. The incident was communicated to the French nuclear safety authority ASN as a Level 1 INES** event on a scale of 0 to 7.

Socatri’s reception and sorting activities for materials from hospitals and laboratories is completely unrelated to the Socatri effluent treatment facility.

* Andra (Agence Nationale pour la gestion des Déchets Radioactifs), the French radioactive waste management agency.
* * International Nuclear Event Scale