Greenpeace activists delivered a truckload of nuclear waste and five tonnes of coal to the home of French President François Hollande at daybreak Wednesday, hours before German Chancellor Angela Merkel was set to arrive at the site.
Unfurling a banner that read “Energy Transition in Europe, here and now!” the activists were calling on the two leaders to abandon their current use of "dangerous" energy sources, such as coal and nuclear, and to commit to a "real energy transition."
“France and Germany talk the talk on the switch to a renewable energy future, but now they must show that they will walk the walk,” said Sébastien Blavier, Greenpeace France nuclear campaigner, in a press statement following the action. “The only way to achieve the energy transition that Europe needs is to set a binding 45% renewable energy target for 2030.”
According to the Associated Press, at 6:30 AM, the protesters drove a truck carrying the coal as well as two containers of nuclear waste water up to the presidential palace and proceeded to dump the coal onto the palace grounds. Activists said that although the waste water contained tritium with "above-normal levels of radioactivity, it was not a threat to cleanup crews or police as long as it wasn't spilled."
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Paris police arrested 12 of the protesters.
Despite both countries' pledge to an energy transition, the protesters say that their continued reliance on these energy sources undermines their climate ambitions.
NTDTV posted a video of the action online: