More radioactive material found after Spanish nuclear plant leak

Other News Materials 17 April 2008 16:06 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - More radioactive particles have been found outside a north-eastern Spanish nuclear plant at which a leak occurred in November, press reports said Thursday.

The particles had, however, remained within the limits of the complex of the Asco I nuclear plant near Tarragona. They were discovered in the same places as the ones initially detected after the leak, which occurred during refuelling.

The Nuclear Safety Council (CSN) announced the establishment of a special team to handle the case.

The director and protection chief of the nuclear plant were sacked Wednesday after it came out that it had downplayed the importance of the leak.

The plant had described the leak as 100 times smaller than it had actually been, when informing the CSN about it in April, according to the nuclear watchdog.

The leak was not believed to have caused health damage to anyone, but there was concern over the false information given by the plant, reports said.

In 2005, the Vandellos II nuclear plant was closed for half a year after it was found not to have informed about a fault in its cooling system.

About 800 people, including employees of the Asco I plant and schoolchildren who visited it, are undergoing health checks to make sure they have not been affected by the radioactive leak.

A case containing radioactive geological instruments, which had been stolen from a car near Madrid on Tuesday, was meanwhile found.

Schoolchildren discovered it at the gates of their school in Leganes near Madrid on Thursday morning.

The lock of the case had been broken, but the case was closed, and no radioactive materials had filtered out, officials said.

The geological instruments, which belonged to a construction company, only contained low-level sources of radioactivity. The 200 pupils of the school were nevertheless evacuated.