About 30 Greenpeace activists were arrested on Monday after breaking into an EDF nuclear power plant in southern France, saying they wanted to expose security flaws and demanding its closure.
The activists, dressed in red, said they reached the walls of two reactors at the Tricastin plant in the south-east of the country, one of France’s oldest. EDF denied they had got into any sensitive areas and said production was not affected. France’s 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 who entered the plant at dawn 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 François Hollande to close the Tricastin plant, which is among the five most dangerous in France,” said Yannick Rousselet, in charge of nuclear issues for Greenpeace France.
“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.”
All 30 protesters were arrested after several hours spent rounding up activists clinging to metal structures and ladders, EDF said.
French Greenpeace activists break into nuclear power plant