Radiation Leak In The Rhone

Ξ July 28th, 2008 | → 2 Comments | ∇ A Day at a Time, International Terroirs, Technology, Wine News, Wineries |

Map of AOCs near radiation leak.On July 8th the French govt. revealed the release of 7,900 gallons of liquid containing an estimated 12 grams per liter of non-enriched uranium from the Tricastin Nuclear Power Center near Bollene. Of the total 7,900 gallons spilled around 4,700 gallons made its way into the Gaffiere and Lauzon rivers, both of which empty into the Rhone.

July 10 brought this news: “Residents in the Vaucluse, a popular southern French tourist destination, were banned yesterday from drinking well-water or swimming or fishing in two rivers after a uranium leak from one of France’s nuclear power plants.”


Other communities have followed with bans of their own. (However, as of this writing the bans have been lifted. Govt. tests of tap water and urine samples have found radiation levels consistent with normal background exposure.)

A second leak was subsequently discovered in an underground pipe. It appears the pipe may have been leaking for quite some time. This development had forced the French govt. to call for the testing of the ground water at all nuclear facilities throughout the country.
July 27th brought an excellent summation of the social upset caused by these recent events. It may be found here.

Of specific interest to Reign of Terroir is the use of the water from the Rhone and affected tributaries on the multitude of downriver vineyards throughout the region’s AOCs. Update to come.



2 Responses to ' Radiation Leak In The Rhone '

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to ' Radiation Leak In The Rhone '.

  1. Morton Leslie said,

    on July 29th, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Will drinking and collecting Rhone wine post 2007 require a geiger counter? We should be equally concerned about the fact that the operator of these facilities, Areva, has hired Spencer Abraham, retired energy secretary from the Bush Administration, as chairman of Areva’s U.S. unit. Thanks to the revolving door expect to see some nice govt. subsidies going to Areva for nuclear power in the U.S. Given the Rhone now has radioactive waste in it, leakage has occurred into ground water around the plant… not to mention Three Mile Island and 90,000 contaminated square miles in Russia with 1/3 of a million people displaced 20 years ago, you would think we would just rule this out of our energy future. Problems are rare, but there is no such thing as “cleanup” afterwards.

  2. Administrator said,

    on July 29th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

    Excellent comment, Morton.

Leave a reply

From the Vineyard to the Glass, Winemaking in an Age of High Tech


  • Recent Posts

  • Authors