Several dozen Greenpeace activists snuck into a nuclear power plant in eastern France on Tuesday, in the latest break-in by the environmental group aimed at highlighting alleged lax security at atomic facilities.
The activists entered the Fessenheim plant and hung a banner reading "Stop risking Europe" on the side of one of its reactors "to denounce the risk of French nuclear power for the whole of Europe," the group said in a statement.
Greenpeace said that more than 60 people of 14 nationalities had entered the plant, France's oldest, at around 5.30 am local time. Firefighters confirmed activists had broken into the site, but other authorities declined to comment.
There was no indication that power output from the plant had been interrupted, according to the website of the RTE electricity network operator.
Equipped with two 900MW reactors, Fessenheim is the doyenne of French nuclear power plants.
President Francois Hollande has promised to close the plant by 2016 and cut France's reliance on nuclear energy to 50 percent of its electricity mix from 75 percent now.
"The Fessenheim plant is a symbol," Greenpeace activist Cyrille Cormier said in a statement. "Its planned closure must be the beginning of a series of plant closures in Europe to limit the accidental and financial risks linked to ageing (plants) and to start the energy transition."
The activists are demanding that European governments cut the use of nuclear energy and called on Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to commit at an EU summit on Thursday to generating energy from alternative sources.
Greenpeace activists have a history of breaking into nuclear plants in France and about 30 were arrested last July after entering EDF's Tricastin plant in southern France.
(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AFP)
Date created : 2014-03-18