Nuclear Power: The Invisible Men

A film by Ghislaine Buffard, Marie-Laure Legendre & Luc Hermann
First broadcast March 17, 2011 on France 2

They are called the “invisibles” of the nuclear power industry; they work in the most radioactive areas of the power plants. In France, there are over 20,000 such nomads who crisscross the country travelling tens of thousands of miles to ensure the maintenance of 58 reactors spread over the country’s 19 nuclear power plants, for a little more than the minimum wage. But they are not employees of EDF, the French electric company. They work for subcontractors. Risking their health, they sometimes receive doses of radiation as high as 80%, while EDF employees, who usually supervise them, are only subject to levels of 20%. These atomic subcontractors workers are naturally concerned about their health. Cases of cancer have recently been detected among the workforce. This investigation shows their working conditions and whether they are putting their lives at risk. A close-up look at the world of French nuclear power plants.