Ravaged by a spectacular fire in June 2020, while she was undergoing maintenance in Toulon, the Perle had to undergo heavy repairs in Cherbourg. He then returned to Toulon in October 2021 for the finalization of the interior work in particular.
Monday at midday, a combustion “a priori of insulating materials” was detected “at the level of a room intended for the storage of food” at the front of the submarine, said the spokesperson for the prefecture. maritime Pierre-Louis Josselin.
Forty marine firefighters from the naval base, reinforced by 52 marine firefighters from Marseille, then attacked “hot spots, that is to say combustion without flames”, using water to bring down the temperature, he added.
“The submarine being in cold shutdown”
Later in the evening, the maritime prefecture clarified to AFP that “these hot spots have been extinguished”, specifying in a press release that “as a precautionary measure, the submarine remains under surveillance by the intervention teams”.
The Marseille firefighters had left the scene. “There was no radioactive risk, the submarine being in cold shutdown”, that is to say loaded with nuclear fuel in its rear part, “but the reactor stopped”, had specified more early in the evening Pierre-Louis Josselin, indicating that samples were taken to ensure the absence of risks.
If the maritime prefecture had first mentioned a “fire” in a press release, he preferred to speak of “combustion without flames”. The causes of the disaster have not been determined at this stage, he added. Naval Group is carrying out the work on this military building.
“This disaster was not comparable to that of 2020, which was an industrial fire, with significant flames”, according to the spokesperson for the maritime prefecture. He could not specify whether there would be any consequences for the return to the operational cycle of the submarine, initially planned for the first half of 2023.
The refit of the Perle is an important element of the Navy’s strategy, which is based on the presence of six nuclear attack submarines, one of whose missions is to support the nuclear launcher submarines. gear (SNLE), but also to escort the Charles-de-Gaulle aircraft carrier, key elements of French deterrence.
letelegramme Fr Trans