A fatal explosion took place at the Marcoule nuclear reprocessing plant in southern France. The explosion took place at the Centraco nuclear waste treatment centre, which belongs to Socodei, a subsidiary of the energy giant EDF. Marcoule, in the southern Gard region, is a major nuclear site. Its three reactors have been decommissioned. It is currently a base for reprocessing nuclear waste. The site is involved in the decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and operates a pressurized water reactor used to produce tritium. The site at which the explosion took place is partly used by French nuclear giant Areva to produce mixed oxide (MOX) fuel, which recycles plutonium from nuclear weapons.
About Mixed Oxide Fuel: Mixed oxide fuel (MOX) fuel, is nuclear fuel that contains more than one oxide of fissile material. MOX fuel contains plutonium blended with natural uranium, reprocessed uranium, or depleted uranium. MOX fuel is an alternative to the low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel used in the light water reactors that predominate nuclear power generation. MOX fuel is considered more dangerous from the radioactivity point of view because it uses a mix of uranium and plutonium. MOX fuel is used in the EPR type of reactors that India is planning to purchase from France.