France to tighten security around nuclear plants

Greenpeace activists succeeded in entering 2 French nuclear power plants last month.

Written by Reuters | Paris | Published: January 6, 2012 3:02 pm

France will take new measures to tighten security around its 58 nuclear power plants,Interior Minister Claude Gueant told daily Le Parisien on Friday,after Greenpeace activists succeeded in entering two of them last month.

In an attempt to highlight security weaknesses,activists got into the Nogent plant near Paris on December 5 and climbed onto one of the domes that houses a reactor,while others entered the Cruas nuclear power site in southeastern France.

This intrusion pointed to weaknesses in the protection around the plants and we have identified,site by site,a number of problems which have mostly to do with details,but should not exist,Gueant told the paper in an interview.

He said cooperation would be improved between police watching the plants’ exterior cordon and security agents inside,and new surveillance equipment,including cameras,would be installed at any nuclear site where it was lacking.

The Greenpeace activists who entered the nuclear sites would be prosecuted,and the government was seeking to toughen legal sanctions to prevent future intrusions.

France’s dependence on nuclear energy,more than any other country,has been much debated ahead of the presidential election in April.

After Japan’s Fukushima disaster in March 2011,France carried out safety tests on its 58 nuclear reactors to check their capacity to resist flooding,earthquakes,power outages and failure of the cooling systems as well as operational management of accidents.

The tests did not include the scenario of an attack or plane crash.

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