Ready to pay the price of a nuclear accident?
This is the question left for the president of "the most nuclear-dependent country on earth" by dozens of Greenpeace activists who broke into and occupied what they say is one of France's most dangerous nuclear power plants.
In the pre-dawn action on Monday, the activists climbed fences at the Tricastin nuclear power plant run by Electricite de France (EDF) where they unfurled banners and projected "Tricastin Nuclear Accident" and showed an image of President François Hollande's face next to the words "President of the Catastrophe?" and "Ready to Pay the Price?"
"With this action, Greenpeace is asking François Hollande to close the Tricastin plant, which is among the five most dangerous in France," Yannick Rousselet of Greenpeace France said in a statement.
Heads of the plant and the Ministry of the Interior dismissed the action as a publicity stunt and said the activists didn't reach sensitive areas, France 24 reports. But Rousselet told Reuters, "If being physically able to touch the reactors is not being in a sensitive place, I don't know what is."
"People with bad intentions could have posed a threat to the reactor's safety," said Rousselet.
Jean-Vincent Place, a prominent Green politician and French senator, told Europe 1 radio the Greenpeace action "shows that getting inside one of these extremely dangerous plants is a bit like passing through a sieve".
In July 2008, an accident at a treatment centre next to the plant saw liquid containing untreated uranium overflow out of a faulty tank during a draining operation. The same month around 100 staff at Tricastin's nuclear reactor number four were contaminated by radioactive particles that escaped from a pipe. EDF, which runs the site, described the contamination as "slight".
AP reports that by midday, all but two of the nearly 30 activists had been arrested.
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