Nuclear Reaction regular Tricastin is in back in the news. Again. The French nuclear watchdog ASN has found that

…an inspection last month showed that, since Jan. 1, the plant had emitted more radioactive carbon-14 gas than was permitted for the whole year.

It is difficult to quantify the danger to health and the environment from these leaks. The ASN say the impact is ‘very weak’ although this judgement is based on ‘first estimates’.

It is worth noting, however, that carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope with a half life of 6000 years. Although naturally-occurring and already present in the environment, it can accumulate in plants, animals and humans, and pose long-term dangers that are also difficult to predict and quantify.