Activists Occupy French Nuke Plant
PARIS (AP) -- Police have surrounded a nuclear plant in eastern France after more than 60 Greenpeace activists occupied it Tuesday to protest the nation's reliance on atomic power.
Activists hung a banner reading "Stop Risking Europe" next to one of the reactors at the Fessenheim plant near the German border. France's oldest nuclear plant, it has become a flashpoint for anti-nuclear campaigners who say it is unsafe and should have been closed long ago.
In a statement Tuesday, Greenpeace France said the activists had come from 14 countries across Europe "to denounce the risk to Europe from France's nuclear power," and to promote a transition to other energy sources. France relies on nuclear power more than any other country for its electricity needs.
Two police helicopters and some 200 officers were dispatched to the site as authorities tried to peacefully remove the activists from the site, Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said on BFM television.
The nuclear safety agency ASN said the intrusion "has not had any impact on the safety of the facility." Utility Electricite de France, which operates the plant, says the activists were unable to get inside any of the buildings at the plant, though images released by Greenpeace show them on the roof of one.
This protest comes a month after Greenpeace dumped a truckload of coal at the doorstep of France's presidential palace. The group wants European countries to commit to raising their percentage of renewable energy use to 45 percent by 2030.