Greenpeace activists occupy French nuclear plant

AP News
Posted: Jul 15, 2013 9:14 AM
Greenpeace activists occupy French nuclear plant

PARIS (AP) — Greenpeace activists occupied a French nuclear power plant site before dawn Monday — a media stunt deeply embarrassing to the government, which is intent on demonstrating that France's reliance on nuclear power is safe.

Around 30 activists from the environmental group invaded state-owned nuclear power utility Electricite de France's Tricastin power plant complex in southern France. They projected a video on the side of one of the plant's buildings that said "Tricastin Nuclear Accident" and showed the image of a giant crack forming across the building's facade.

Activists also hung a giant banner with President Francois Hollande's face and the words "President of the Catastrophe?"

France's nuclear safety authority said in a statement that so far the intrusion had no impact on the plant's safety.

By mid-afternoon, all of the activists had been arrested and were being held in a nearby police station, Greenpeace France said on its web site.

Speaking at a news conference 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."

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France is among the most nuclear-dependent countries in the world, with reactors producing about 80 percent of its electricity.

In 2008, the Tricastin plant reported several incidents that angered anti-nuclear groups, including a leak of unenriched uranium into two nearby rivers and the release of radioactive particles from a pipe.