Paris • A steam blast at France's oldest nuclear plant Wednesday left two workers with slight finger burns and revived calls to reduce this country's heavy reliance on nuclear power.
Nuclear safety authorities said there was no threat of radioactive leaks and that the incident at the Fessenheim plant near the German border was minor. It touched a nerve, however, because anti-nuclear activists have long urged the closure of the plant, which was built in the 1970s and is located in a seismic zone. Those calls have mounted since the earthquake and tsunami disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant last year.
France relies on nuclear energy more than any other nation, getting about ¾ of its electricity from atomic reactors scattered around the country. French President Francois Hollande pledged during his election campaign to close Fessenheim, which operates two 900-watt pressurized water reactors, by 2017.