[QODLink]
Europe

Activists break into French nuclear plant

Greenpeace campaigners enter Tricastin plant and project visuals protesting against atomic power on the building.

Last Modified: 15 Jul 2013 13:32
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
One of the visuals unveiled by the activists read 'Tricastin, nuclear accident, ready to pay the price?' [AFP]

About two dozen activists from the international environmental campaign group Greenpeace have climbed fences to break into a nuclear power plant in southern France.

The activists entered the state-run Electricity of France’s (EDF) Tricastin plant about 200km north of Marseille at around 03:00 GMT on Monday and projected visuals on the building, Greenpeace and police said.

The images read, "Tricastin, nuclear accident, ready to pay the price?" and "Francois Hollande: president of a catastrophe?" in reference to the French president, Isabelle Philippe, a Greenpeace spokeswoman, said.

Twelve of the activists were arrested more than two hours later, according to EDF, which runs the country's atomic power plants.

A spokesman for the interior ministry said the activists "were not able to access the plant's sensitive areas, notably command rooms".

"It's a media stunt that poses no security danger," said spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

‘Immediately detected’

Brandet said that the activists, who divided into three groups upon entering the plant, "were immediately detected" and that about 50 gendarmes were deployed to arrest the remaining trespassers.

Speaking at a news conference French President Francois Hollande said France is very much attached to nuclear safety, and that everything was being done "to assure us that this nuclear safety is absolutely respected."

Members of the environmental anti-nuclear group have staged several break-ins at French nuclear plants in recent years in an effort to highlight the "dangers of atomic power" and to expose "security problems at the power stations".

In May 2012, an activist with the group flew into the grounds of the Bugey plant in southeastern France using a hang glider in a stunt aimed at revealing alleged security flaws.

He flew over the plant, threw a smoke bomb and landed inside before being arrested.

In December 2011, nine activists broke into the Nogent-sur-Seine plant 95km southeast of Paris. Most were quickly arrested, but two managed to evade capture for nearly two hours.

France is heavily reliant on nuclear power, with its 58 nuclear reactors producing some 75 percent of the nation's electricity. Hollande pledged to cut the share of nuclear energy in the country's electricity mix to 50 percent by 2025.

He also wants to close the country's oldest plant at Fessenheim, near the German border, by 2017.

369

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Spirits are high in Scotland's 'Whisky Capital of the World' with one distillery thirsty for independence.
President Poroshenko arrives in Washington on Thursday with money and military aid on his mind, analysts say.
Early players in private medicine often focused on volume over quality, turning many Chinese off for-profit care.
Al Jazeera asked people across Scotland what they think about the prospect of splitting from the United Kingdom.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
join our mailing list