French government red-faced as activists break into nuclear plant
Dec 5, 2011, 10:15 GMT
Paris - The French government on Monday admitted to 'dysfunctions' after a group of activists from the environmentalist organization Greenpeace managed to slip past security into a nuclear power plant.
Greenpeace confirmed the early morning stunt at the plant in Nogent-sur-Seine, about 100 kilometres south-east of Paris, saying it wanted to 'get a message across: 'Safe nuclear (power) doesn't exist'.'
Some of the activists had managed to climb on the roof of the nuclear block and unfurl a banner, Greenpeace said.
EDF, the state electricity body which runs the country's 58 nuclear reactors, confirmed the security breach but said the activists were 'immediately detected' and the incident had no impact on the plant's safety.
Seven activists had been detained by police, EDF said.
The police also signalled attempts to break into three other plants around the country. EDF said banners had been hung at two plants but quickly taken down. Greenpeace did not claim responsibility for those breaches.
Industry Minister Eric Besson expressed surprise at the incidents and said an investigation was underway. 'We will have to take measures to ensure it doesn't happen again,' he told France Info radio, admitting to possible 'dysfunctions.'
France gets 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power.
Since the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan in March the government has come under pressure from the political opposition and ecologist groups to reduce the share of nuclear in the country's energy mix.