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Carbon dioxide leak kills one, injures three at Spanish nuclear plant

25 November 2021

One person died and three were rushed to hospital after a carbon dioxide leak at the Ascó nuclear power plant in Catalonia, Spain on November 24. Emergency services said that the incident was not linked to radiological activity but was likely caused by a fault in the plant’s fire prevention system.

Ascó nuclear power plant - Image: Wikimedia/User:Willtron
Ascó nuclear power plant - Image: Wikimedia/User:Willtron

Catalonia’s fire department said that it was called to the nuclear power plant near Ascó at around 18:55 local time. A total of seven firefighting teams helped secure the site and checked extractor fans before ensuring the fire prevention system was safe and working again. Four teams stayed overnight as a precaution but left after the site was confirmed to be safe, the fire department said.

The operator of the Ascó nuclear power plant, Asociación Nuclear Ascó-Vandellòs (ANAV), said in a statement that the incident had occurred in Unit 1. The person who died and the three injured were all technicians at the plant and had been performing maintenance work on the fire prevention system when the leak occurred. Those injured were treated at a local hospital for minor injuries arising from CO2 inhalation.

ANAV said it joins in the grief of the family of the deceased worker and expressed its condolences. It added that it has opened an investigation into the accident, which has not compromised the safety of the facility or the environment.

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