Southern France hit by earthquake, nuclear plants shut down

Mar 2012
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More than 8,500 people have been evacuated and hundreds of buildings dangerously weakened in southeast France, as the extent of the damage from yesterday’s 5.4 magnitude earthquake emerges.

The quake, was felt in a vast area between the cities of Lyon and Montelimar which are about 150 kilometres (93 miles) apart, the national seismological office said.

Four people were reported injured, including one person seriously. Hundreds of firefighters were called in to help ensure that everyone had left the dangerous buildings.

Production at three nearby nuclear reactors at the power stations of Cruas-Meysse and Tricastin has been suspended as a precaution, but no damage has yet been reported on-site, according to Électricité de France (EDF).

The situation is also being monitored by nuclear safety authority L’Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire, EDF said.