(Reuters) – Around 30 Greenpeace activists climbed fences to break into an EDF nuclear power plant in southern France at dawn on Monday, saying they wanted to expose security flaws and demand its closure.
The activists, dressed in red, said they reached the walls of two reactors at the Tricastin plant, one of France’s oldest. EDF denied they had got into any “sensitive areas” and said production was not affected.
Interior Minister Manuel Valls called for an investigation into the intrusion which raised questions about the security of France’s 19 nuclear plants and 58 reactors.
The protesters unfurled a yellow and black banner on a wall above a picture of President Francois Hollande, marked with the words: “Tricastin, nuclear accident – President of the catastrophe?”
“With this action, Greenpeace is asking Francois Hollande to close the Tricastin plant, which is among the five most dangerous in France,” Yannick Rousselet, in charge of nuclear issues for Greenpeace France, said in a statement.
“If being physically able to touch the reactors is not being in a sensitive place, I don’t know what is,” Rousselet told Reuters. “People with bad intentions could have posed a threat to the reactor’s safety.”
Most of Monday’s protesters were arrested by 0230 EDT but around eight of them were still clinging to metal structures and ladders, EDF said.
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