Blockade by anti-nuclear Greenpeace activists in France, 13 arrests

photo by Nicolas Chauveau, Greenpeace

photo by Nicolas Chauveau, Greenpeace

On the morning of February 12, Greenpeace activists stopped a truck near Caen, France which carried the head of the vessel of the EPR nuclear reactor under construction at Flamanville (Manche).

Thirteen activists were arrested and held in custody for a few hours. They were charged with obstructing traffic.

The convoy left the Areva plant in Chalon-sur-Saône (Saône-et-Loire) on Monday morning, headed towards Normandy. Greenpeace members had arrived at around 7:30 a.m. in the parking lot where the truck was parked in the town of Evrecy, 20 km southwest of Caen.

The group managed to reach the vehicle despite police surveillance. Two of them chained themselves to the roof of the truck, while the others locked on underneath the vehicle. They were protesting the installation of the cover, which was found to have an abnormality, as well as investments in the nuclear industry.

Police moved quickly to clear the protesters. At 11 a.m., a Greenpeace member said that forty police cars were on site and police were trying to separate the activists from the vehicle. It took a particularly long time to cut the chain that connected the two activists mounted on top of the truck.

From a Greenpeace statement: “This cover is not consistent: In April, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) announced the detection of an anomaly in the composition of the steel of the tank of the Flamanville EPR.”

The Nuclear Safety Authority, however, gave the green light to the Areva testing program in December, which should lead this year to new mechanical and chemical tests to demonstrate the strength of the key equipment of the future reactor.