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Questions over nuclear break-in

Group of 29 Greenpeace protesters arrested inside the Tricastin nuclear power plant site

A GROUP of 29 protesters has been arrested on the site of the Tricastin nuclear power plant, casting doubts over security measures at the site.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry criticised the action as a media stunt, saying the group was immediately detected and represented no danger to site security.

“France is very committed to nuclear security, and the nuclear safety authority oversees this, that’s their mission,” said President François Hollande.

“Furthermore it has given all guarantees to assure us that nuclear security is completely respected.”

It is the third incursion into a nuclear power station by protesters in just over a year.

Greenpeace said the action highlighted security failings, on top of safety concerns about the ageing reactor, which is situated 150km north of Marseilles and Montpellier.

Tricastin opened in 1980 with an original lifespan of 30 years – a deadline that has since been extended.

Both Greenpeace and the nuclear safety authority, L'Autorité de sûreté nucléaire have noted numerous cracks in the No1 reactor at Tricastin.

Tricastin provides 45% of the electricity used in the Rhône-Alpes. Around 1.6 million people, three airports and six important industrial sites are located within an 80km radius of the plant, which is also situated on a site termed ‘moderate’ for earthquake risks.

In 2012, the plant reactor No2 was shut down after the discovery of a valve malfunction and in 2008, 74kg of uranium was leaked into the water supply, affecting farming, bathing and drinking water in the area.

Photo: wiki/Vpe

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