“The flight and crash of this drone showed how the airspace was not well protected,” the nongovernmental organization said in a statement. The operation aimed to show the lack of security of nuclear power stations, the NGO added.
Greenpeace has conducted previous operations pointing up the vulnerability of French nuclear power stations, but this was the first time a drone was used to underline the ease of access in the airspace.
Greenpeace operators flew two UAVs, one which followed and filmed the lead drone, which flew directly into the wall of a building storing spent uranium fuel.
The operation showed the nuclear power stations were “easily accessible and extremely vulnerable to external attacks,” Greenpeace said. These nuclear sites, designed in the 1970s, were not built to resist the crash of an airliner, contrary to what the electricity utility company Electricité de France has claimed, the NGO said.
EDF, however, said the two drones had been detected, tracked in flight and the paramilitary Gendarmerie had intercepted one of the UAVs.
“The overflight of the drone does not present a threat to security,” EDF said. A lawsuit will be brought against Greenpeace, the company added.
EDF operates 19 nuclear power stations, reflecting a French decision to build a strong domestic atomic energy capability in response to the 1973 oil embargo adopted by the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries.
Dr. Hans C. Mumm