Greenpeace Activists Arrested In French Nuclear Break-In

Nuclear power, a contentious issue at the best of times. The fierce ongoing debate between those for and against the energy source is yet to reach a consensus, despite the urgent need for alternate energy sources.

Some believe that reactors installed in geologically stable areas – areas lacking seismic activity – would result in nuclear energy as the key to combatting global climate change – reducing our reliance on the burning of fossil fuels means less CO2 pumped into our atmosphere. Others, such as the recently-arrested Greenpeace activists, believe that the safety of nuclear reactors is in question. And the consequences of an accident at a nuclear reactor, particularly an ageing one, too big a risk.

What is of importance is that both sides are fighting to achieve the same outcome – reducing our reliance and use of fossil fuels for the betterment of our global climate. The bottom line: we need to develop alternate sources of energy – perhaps nuclear energy is the answer, if we can do it safely. JB

Nuclear energySTRASBOURG, March 18 (Reuters) – French police arrested 34 Greenpeace activists on Tuesday who forced their way into a nuclear power plant operated by EDF inFessenheim, eastern France, the company said.

The activists hung anti-nuclear banners from the plant, France’s oldest in operation, but France’s nuclear safety authority said they did not enter into its buildings and its security was not compromised.

The protesters used a truck to force their way into the site early in the morning, according to activists outside. Police gendarmes subsequently surrounded and entered the plant.

“Gendarmes have 56 activists under control and 34 have been arrested,” an EDF spokesman said. “There has been no impact on the security of the plant, which continues to function normally.”

President Francois Hollande has promised to close Fessenheim by 2016 and cutFrance’s reliance on nuclear energy to 50 percent of its electricity mix from 75 percent now.

Greenpeace wants Fessenheim’s two 900-megawatt reactors, which have been in operation since 1977, to be shut immediately.

“The Fessenheim plant is a symbol,” Greenpeace activist Cyrille Cormier said. “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 hung a banner from the roof of the plant that said “stop risking Europe” 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. (Reporting by Gilbert Reilhac, Patrick Genthon and Marion Drouet; writing by Leigh Thomas; Editing by John Stonestreet and Mark John)