An explosion at a nuclear power plant on the coast of France was not cause for serious concern Thursday, officials said. For reasons yet unknown, a fire broke out at the Flamanville nuclear power plant in La Manche, causing a “minor explosion” in a non-nuclear portion of the facility. 

“It is a significant technical event but it is not a nuclear accident,” senior local official Oliver Marmion told AFP news agency. The power plant’s operators, EDF Energy, said there should be no safety risk at the plant or to the environment. Because the explosion took place in the turbine hall, a non-nuclear part of the reactor, it didn’t result in a radioactive leak.

“The fire was immediately brought under control by the plant’s response team,” a spokesperson for EDF said. “As per normal procedure, the fire brigade went to the affected location and confirmed that the fire had been extinguished.”

Several people were treated for smoke inhalation, according to the Independent.

RTX309TG-2 The power plant in Flamanville, France is shown Apr. 8, 2011. Photo: Reuters

The two pressurized water reactors inside the plant were built in the 1980s. A third reactor remained under construction amid protests from anti-nuclear activists and other delays. 

France has largely embraced nuclear energy, turning it into a popular industry in the country. It has around 56 working nuclear plants that generate 76 percent of its electricity, a far higher proportion than any other country, according to PBS. However, nuclear power in the country is not without issue and the Flamanville plant itself has had problems in the past.

A leak at the same power plant occurred in 2012, according to Reuters, though it also did not result in any serious injuries or pose a risk to the environment. The incident was classified as a level one, the lowest on a scale of seven on the international nuclear event scale. 

An explosion at a nuclear waste processing plant, also owned by EDF, in France in 2011 caused the death of one worker.