The French government has demanded answers from a nuclear research facility after nearly triple the registered amount of plutonium was discovered there during its dismantling this summer.
The French government has called for more transparency
The Cadarache research center near Marseille had stated it had eight kilograms of plutonium slated for decommissioning, but there were 22 kg found at the location during the operation.
The facility had a license to store more than 22 kg of plutonium, but authorities are nonetheless curious as to why the extra 14 kg went unregistered.
"We need to have some transparency in this matter because this is not normal," said the French junior environment minister, Chantal Jouanno.
France's nuclear safety watchdog, the ASN, said safety measures at the facility were reduced as a result of the quantity of plutonium registered there.
The ASN said the incident did not pose any threat to security, but has pushed for a re-examination of procedures ensuring the fissile material cannot be used to trigger a chain reaction.
The watchdog has also ordered that dismantling work at the facility be halted over worker safety fears.
Much focus has been given to the revelation that the extra plutonium was discovered in June but not reported until now.
French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo said he "profoundly regretted that there was a delay between the discovery of the stocks and the decision to report them."
Henri Maubert, a spokesman for the Cadarache facility, said no effort was made to hide the discovery, and that administrators "were just waiting to get a better overall view" before informing the authorities.
The plant was used to produce fuel for nuclear power stations in France, which has the second largest network of nuclear facilities after the United States.
Editor: Andreas Illmer
An often controversial figure in French media, Eric Zemmour has been fired from his position on a weekly talk show. The move follows comments Zemmour made about Muslims in France to an Italian newspaper.
Trumped-up charges are to be leveled at more than a dozen recently arrested Turkish journalists. DW talks to Turkey-analyst Günter Seufert about why the Turkish president is going after them now.
2014 was a good one for German sports. Alpine ski racer Maria Höfl-Riesch, discus thrower Robert Harting and the World Cup-winning football team have been named this year's German Sports Personalities of the year.
We may know him best as the devilishly handsome provocateur of films such as "Ocean's Eleven" but Brad Pitt may be about to receive a somewhat more salubrious title - the "Keeper of the German Language" for 2014.