Greenpeace activists light fireworks at French nuclear plant

Greenpeace activists break into nuclear plant and set off fireworks

Greenpeace activists break into nuclear plant and set off fireworks

Greenpeace activists broke through two security barriers and launched fireworks inside the grounds of a French nuclear plant on Thursday to highlight the vulnerability of the plants to attacks.

But Greenpeace has claimed its fireworks were unleashed next to a spent fuel pool, which is where fuel rods with high radioactivity are kept after being used.

Shortly after the pre-dawn infiltration, the EDF energy company that operates the plant said the protesters were detained before they reached the nuclear zone, and that the plant's safety was not impacted.

Police said eight people were arrested following the intrusion, which has been described as "irresponsible".

Oliver Lamarre, deputy head of the energy giant's nuclear fleet in France, said: "Had they been ill-intentioned people, or had there been a doubt about that, things would have happened differently and within a different timeframe".

Greenpeace lobbies France to build special underground sites to store this hazardous waste.

State-controlled EDF - whose 58 reactors provide three quarters of France's electricity - denied its spent-fuel pools were at risk and said they had been created to withstand earthquakes and flooding as well as terror attacks.

EDF immediately refuted the report, saying in a statement that its nuclear plants were "safe, properly monitored and very well protected" and that it was constantly evaluating their resistance to criminal acts or terrorism.

France now gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power.

The French government is planning to close a third of the country's nuclear reactors by 2025.

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