Oddly enough, Greenpeace, the global environmentalist group, proved a point to a nuclear power plant in France that their security isn’t exactly top-notch using a drone shaped like Superman. This was done last Tuesday to point out to the plant that they have some massive security flaws when it comes to the overall general vulnerability of the outside of the site, specifically to aerial attacks.
The power plant in question is the Bugey nuclear plant. It’s located close to Lyon, France, and is only one of the 19 plants that are operated by EDF, a French utility company, who generates up to 75% of their total electricity using nuclear power.
Greenpeace has stated that an activist, before slamming it straight into the wall of one of the plant’s buildings containing spent nuclear fuel, flew the Superman-shaped UAV directly into the airspace with no trouble at all. Interestingly enough, Greenpeace has also stated that this is not the first time they have centered a UAV on nuclear plants in France.
Because of how easy it is to gain entrance into the airspace, and how easy it was to crash into a building on the site, Greenpeace hopes that the French will consider moving the buildings with spent nuclear fuel underground. These buildings, aside from the spent fuel, also contain reactor cores located in concrete pools, which must be safeguarded from any potential external attacks, especially from the sky.
“Pools of spent fuel must be turned into bunkers in order to make nuclear plants safe. This action highlights the extreme vulnerability of this type of building, which contain the highest amount of radioactivity in nuclear plants,” Yannick Rousselet, the chief nuclear campaigner of Greenpeace in France, commented.
EDF has claimed that there were a total of two drones in operation over the Bugey site, but only one of them was taken down by the French police force. The company, in addition, is planning on filing a police report over the criminal act, whereas others see it as an act of terrorism. They are also stating that, though this was merely a stunt, it makes no difference to the security installations already in place and how they have been impacted.
EDF has claimed that their spent-fuel buildings were designed to resist attacks from the outside, endure national disasters, and stay standing through a number of incidents and other types of accidents. However, there is talk of the stunt done by Greenpeace sparking some legislative changes in the near future.
For example, the launch of fireworks over the Cattenom plant last year during the month of October, in addition to this stunt, has resulted in an investigation on a parliamentary level into the overall security of EDF’s nuclear power sites.
The resulting report is scheduled to be presented to the public by Thursday of this week. Though Greenpeace conducted an irresponsible and illegal act with the Superman drone, it seems to have sparked some necessary insight and other changes, including a crucial governmental discussion, over the topic of the security and safety of the nation’s nuclear sites.