An appellation in the south of France is looking to change its name in order to avoid being associated with a uranium leak at a nuclear power station in the same region.

The Coteaux du Tricastin appellation, which neighbours Cotes du Rhone Villages, has resented its association with Tricastin Nuclear Power Centre (pictured) for some time.

Henri Bour, head of the Coteaux du Tricastin appellation, told French news website nouvelobs.com that the region has wanted to change its name ‘for about ten years’.

If the project goes to plan, the appellation could change its name within a year.


‘It’s only a question of image,’ Bour told news angency AFP. ‘The idea [to change the name of the wines] is making progress and I hope it will be achieved before the 2009 harvest.’

The push for a name change follows the intense media coverage of a uranium leak at the Tricastin nuclear site earlier this this month.

On 7 July, 75kg of toxic, unenriched uranium leaked from the power station into two neighbouring rivers. Although unenriched uranium is not highly radioactive and regional authorities said risk of radiation poisoning was low, France’s Nuclear Security Authority said the accident was ‘unacceptable’.

‘Now, it’s useless for a producer to try to sell a bottle of Coteaux du Tricastin – people would laugh in their face,’ said Brice Eymard, head of the economic department at the Rhone wine trade body, InterRhone.

A meeting of the administrative appellation council is set for 5 August, where members will discuss the possiblity of changing the name Tricastin to Grignan, a local village in the center of the region.

Written by Oliver Styles