France’s Marcoule nuclear power plant has been rocked by an explosion which is believed to have killed one person and injured four others.

France’s nuclear authority confirmed that an explosion had taken place at the plant’s  waste site just before noon at the plant in the Languedoc-Roussillon region but were quick to reassure the public that there were no radioactive leaks.

Reports said the blast was the result of a fire in a nuclear waste storage area.

A spokesman for the safety authority said the explosion took place in a furnace used to treat “low grade” waste and as such did not constitute a nuclear accident.

“The furnace exploded for technical reasons and it was not nuclear,” he said. “We are not worried about the consequences.”

A fire which had broken out was quickly quelled

58 nuclear power plants run by the national electricity provider, EDF, generate 78 per cent of France’s electricity.

However the explosion is expected to raise questions over the safety of nuclear power plants, especially in light of the recent Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan.

Fukushima nuclear disaster up there with Chernobyl