More details of the leak at France’s Areva-run Tricastin nuclear plant (see here and here ) are emerging. While the story gets murkier it becomes clearer that things have been very wrong at the plant for some time.

The French authorities have now agreed to test the ground water at all its nuclear sites after it was found that there were additional traces of uranium found in the water near the Tricastin site from an earlier leak.

In 1998 it was revealed that military nuclear waste was being secretly stored at the Tricastin site in mounds of dirt. It was suggested that rainwater could wash the uranium into the ground. When you read stuff like this, it makes you realise that disposing of nuclear waste is less based on sound science and more on reckless wishful thinking.

How does this happen? Is it incompetence or malice that leads people to make decisions like this? Whichever it is, neither are reassuring. Would you prefer to be poisoned deliberately or by accident? Either way, you’re still poisoned.

The ban on drinking well water, and swimming or fishing in the two contaminated rivers near Tricastin is still in place more than ten days after the leak. It looks like the ban should have been put in place ten years ago.