[ RadSafe ] Legionella

Colette Tremblay colette.tremblay at ssp.ulaval.ca
Mon Jul 10 16:08:17 CDT 2006


For those interested, here goes an approximate 
English translation of the paper from Le Monde. I 
used the AltaVista translator, then I added some 
personnal corrections to the translated text.

Colette Tremblay

Cooling towers of nuclear power stations shown to emit too much Legionella

Le Monde | 05.07.06 | 15h44 *  05.07.06 | 15h44

The association "Sortir du nucleaire" called, 
Tuesday July 4, the residents around several 
nuclear power stations to seize justice, 
estimating that these installations present a 
medical risk related to emissions of Legionella. 
The organization says it bases its action on a 
recent report (Le Monde, June 23)  from the 
French Agency of medical safety of the 
environment and work (Afsset) asking EDF 
(Electiricity of France, which runs french 
nuclear power plants) to re-examine its policy of 
control of the bacteria present in the cooling 
towers of its power stations. "Sortir du 
nucleaire" also blames the authorities which 
excluded EDF nuclear power stations from of the 
common regulation. The thresholds beyond which a 
reactor would be stopped are 5 to 50 times higher 
than for the other industrial facilities - among 
them thermal power plants from EDF. "This 
derogatory mode takes into account the fact that 
the height of the cooling towers of EDF lends to 
the dilution of Legionella",  says the Authority 
on nuclear safety (ASN). This argument did not 
convince Afsset, whose conclusions led the ASN to 
require at EDF, in a mail from June 16, to 
"deepen its analysis" on this point. But also to 
reinforce the monitoring of the power stations, 
to study the means to fight against Legionella 
and to take advantage of existing epidemiological 
studies. Alain Schmitt, deputy manager of the 
ASN, specifies however that "no episode of 
grouped cases of légionellosis was observed close 
to the power stations", and that "no agreement 
between clones isolated from the power stations 
and those taken from patients was noted". The 
efforts of EDF aiming at reducing the 
concentrations of Legionella in its installations 
are also criticized by  "Sortir du nucleaire". 
Based on administrative documents from the 
prefecture of the Indre-and-Loire Department, the 
association thus denounces the presence of 
nitrites and nitrates resulting from the 
treatments implemented - generally containing 
chlorine -, "up to 7 km downstream" of the power 
station of Chinon, for example. This aspect is 
the subject of a new study at Afsset, which 
should be made public in the next months. 
Preprocessing of the water drawn from the rivers 
to cool the reactors "is the solution which is 
outlined, advances Bernard Tribollet (CNRS), 
expert solicited by Affset, but they is very 

Colette Tremblay
Agente de radioprotection
Université Laval
Téléphone : (418) 656-2131 poste 2893
Télécopie : (418) 656-5617
courriel : colette.tremblay at ssp.ulaval.ca
Site Web :  www.ssp.ulaval.ca/sgc/radioprotection

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