News / Europe

France to Test Nuclear Plant Security After Greenpeace Occupation

French gendarmes block the access at the nuclear plant in Nogent-sur-Seine after Greenpeace activists managed to sneak into the plant in what they said was a bid to highlight the dangers of atomic energy, December 5, 2011
French gendarmes block the access at the nuclear plant in Nogent-sur-Seine after Greenpeace activists managed to sneak into the plant in what they said was a bid to highlight the dangers of atomic energy, December 5, 2011
Lisa Bryant

In a spectacular assault, the environmental group Greenpeace broke into a nuclear power plant in France Monday, as the French government is conducting nuclear safety tests.  The gesture has fueled a hot debate over phasing out nuclear energy in Europe, and underscored divisions about nuclear power aired at climate talks in South Africa.  

Greenpeace campaigners entered a nuclear power plant Monday about 95 kilometers southeast of Paris. They hoisted a banner scrawled with the word "facile" or "easy," describing the break-in. Greenpeace said it had targeted other sites in France, but it was not clear how many.

Greenpeace nuclear expert Sofia Magnoni said the assault showed French nuclear plants are not safe.

Speaking on French radio, Magnoni said the move underscored the weakness, not only of the security systems around French nuclear power plants, but also of so-called stress tests the government is conducting. The tests aim to avoid the kind of accident that occurred earlier this year at Japan's Fukushima-Daichi nuclear plant. Magnoni said the tests do not take into account the possibility of human threats like terrorist attacks.

But the French government denounced Greenpeace's action as irresponsible.

With 58 nuclear power plants, France is Europe's leading producer and exporter of nuclear energy and technology. Whether to phase out nuclear power here has become a top campaign issue, just five months from French presidential elections. Conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy strongly defends nuclear power. The Green and main opposition Socialist parties are pushing for a gradual phaseout.

Green Party head Cecile Duflot hailed the Greenpeace invasion.  In a television interview, she said zero risk does not exist when it comes to nuclear power and it is time to end French dependence on it.

Nuclear energy advocates argue it is not only safe, but it is a relatively clean form of energy that is indispensable in tackling climate change. Europe is deeply divided over nuclear power, with Germany announcing a phaseout of its plants following the Fukushima accident.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid