Google Maps has captured a location in France that seems to be out of the ordinary. Rather than showing the place in detail – as is usual on Google Earth, something is unusual. A large swathe of land has been completely blurred so it cannot be seen by internet browsers. Rather than being able to identify the buildings below, viewers just see an area of pixelated territory.
Google Maps: Google Earth blurs out France nuclear site – what’s it hiding?
So why has Google Earth decided to prevent users from looking at this place in south-east France?
The blurred location is in fact home to a nuclear power plant – it’s the Marcoule Nuclear Site.
The nuclear facility was first constructed in 1952 and was one of France’s pioneering nuclear research centres.
Marcoule is the site of two tritium-producing nuclear reactors as well as the research into new reactor technology and the decommissioning of older nuclear facilities.
According to its website: “Marcoule is France’s Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission reference site for nuclear fuel cycle research (spent fuel processing and recycling and radioactive waste management).
“Other areas of R&D activity include development of the fuel cycle for future nuclear systems, as well as research in support of industrial partners.”
In a peculiar twist, the site hasn’t always been pixelated, and the Google Earth history tab reveals the entire facility in previous incarnations.
Marcoule is not the only French nuclear facility that has been blurred out on Google Earth.
The AREVA La Hague site is a nuclear reprocessing plant at La Hague in Normandy and is also pixellated.
It was opened in 1976 and it treats spent nuclear fuel from France, Japan, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands.
The site has attracted a fair amount of controversy over the years, and criticism from Greenpeace in particular.
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They have been campaigning for the plant to be shut down since 1997.
The La Hague nuclear reprocessing plant is most likely blurred from view due to security.
Instances of such locations being blurred can be seen across the world on Google.
A giant square section of Almeria in southern Spain has been blurred out so no one can see what is there.
It is believed the yard has been blurred out by Google due to the proximity of government buildings.
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