NUCLEAR ATTACK: Greenpeace activists launch FIREWORKS at plant to expose security flaws
The group, which is against nuclear power and known for its bold and at times reckless publicity stunts, wanted to prove that anyone could access the toxic pools, in which nuclear plants store the highly radioactive fuel rods that are removed from reactors after their use.
Greenpeace said on Twitter, along with a picture of the firework ‘explosion’ at the plant in Cattenom, near the border with Luxembourg: “Our activists were in action this morning to denounce #nuclear spent fuel pools (as a) major security risk #StopRiskingEurope.”
A spokesperson for EDF, the state-owned energy company that runs the plant, however, said that the protesters had been arrested by police before they were able to reach the no-go nuclear zone, and that the stunt had had “no impact on the safety of installations”.
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Our activists were in action this morning to denounce #nuclear spent fuel pools (as a) major security risk #StopRiskingEurope
Greenpeace said on Twitter
Roger Spautz of Greenpeace Luxembourg told the AFP news agency that around 15 activists had sneaked into the site at around 5.30am, and that they had managed to cross two security barriers and reach the building where the used fuel rods are stored before setting off the firework.
Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France, for his part, told France Info radio that the fireworks display had lasted for “2 minutes and 30 seconds”.
Mr Spautz said that the stunt had been carried out to expose the “fragility” of spent fuel pools, which, unlike reactor buildings, are not protected, and to show that “anyone” could break into the nuclear plant.
Greenpeace activists broke into the nuclear power plant in eastern France
EDF rejects these claims, and said in a statement that its nuclear plants are “safe, properly monitored, and very well protected,” adding that it was constantly evaluating its plants’ resistance to criminal and terrorist acts.
There are 58 nuclear reactors and 68 spent fuel pools in France – the reactors provide 75 per cent of the country’s electricity.
Close to a third of the country’s nuclear reactors, however, are to be closed by 2025 under government plans to reduce France’s reliance on nuclear power.