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France to Improve Nuclear Power Plants' Defenses Following Break-Ins

France on Friday pledged to improve protective features at its atomic energy facilities after environmental advocates infiltrated two sites in December, Reuters reported (see GSN, Dec. 11, 2011).

As part of a campaign to draw attention to security weaknesses, members of the group Greenpeace last month gained entry to the Nogent facility close to Paris and mounted a reactor containment structure at the site. Greenpeace organizers also entered the Cruas energy station in the country's southeast.

France hosts 58 nuclear energy facilities.

"This intrusion pointed to weaknesses in the protection around the plants and we have identified, site by site, a number of problems which have mostly to do with details, but should not exist," French Interior Minister Claude Gueant told the newspaper Le Parisien on Friday.

Atomic sites without cameras and other monitoring systems would receive such equipment, while local law enforcement authorities and plant protection personnel would step up their coordination, Gueant said.

France intends to take legal action against the individuals who breached the nuclear sites, and it would aim to establish harsher penalties for potential new violators (Nicholas Vinocur, Reuters, Jan. 6).

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