Greenpeace activists have caused a major embarrassment to the French government by breaking into several nuclear sites. They filmed themselves inside one of the domes housing a reactor in a plant near Paris, claiming it was easy to get past existing security measures.
The group claims its members managed to sneak into other installations around the country undetected.
Earlier this year France, along with other European countries, carried out safety tests at its nuclear facilities in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. But these did not include the threat of terrorist attacks.
Greenpeace says its campaigners have shown how vulnerable the sites are. Spokeswoman Sophia D’Intingano described the security arrangements as “weak” and “fragile”.
“In less than 15 minutes we were able to reach the most sensitive part of the nuclear plant,” she said.
Nuclear energy has become a major political issue ahead of next year’s presidential election. The government has launched an inquiry into the break-ins. Energy minister Eric Besson said: “If they have got in, and the inquiry confirms it, it means there a failure and we have to take measures to ensure it’s not repeated”.
EDF, the sites’ operator say those who entered their premises were quickly detected. Security has now been stepped up around France’s 58 nuclear sites.