They poured onto the sites of two nuclear reactor plants in Sweden this morning with minimal problems: more than 70 Greenpeace activists, from five countries, conducted peaceful stress tests of the sites.
The goal: to show how weak security arrangements are at the two plants.
At the Forsmark nuclear site, on the east coast of Sweden, 50 activists put ladders up against a chain link fence, scaled over the so-called 'barrier' and got up close to the reactor buildings. One activist was on the site for four hours before she was discovered!
Apparently a Forsmark spokesperson told the media: "We can confirm that GP came in over the fence, as usual." Yes … today wasn’t the first time Greenpeace Sweden got on to the site.
At the Ringhals nuclear site, on the west coast, 20 activists bicycled onto the property and explored the terrain.
The videos reveal just how weak the security is.
In fact, it took police 40 minutes to get to Ringhals, 15 to get to Forsmark.
Today should alert the public, the nuclear industry and the Swedish environment minister of the serious safety deficiencies at the plants.
There are seven reactors on the two sites, all of which are well over 30 years old.
More than 1.3 million people live within 75 kilometers of the sites. Today’s Greenpeace Sweden “stress tests” showed again that people are exposed to unacceptable risks from the nuclear plants.
But Sweden isn’t the only country in Europe where reactors are a concern.
On 4 October, a European Commission report showed that its stress tests on the 134 reactors at 68 sites across Europe had revealed serious deficiencies. The tests were ordered after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011. The results are worrisome.
Almost all the plants need improvements. Equipment to detect earthquakes was inadequate, plants could not withstand flooding and safety equipment was not sufficient. The list goes on. Plants can’t withstand threats from aircraft either.
Improvements that should have been put in place after the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island in the US and at Chernobyl in Ukraine are still lacking in some cases.
The cost to fix the deficiencies at EU reactors is between 10 and 25 billion euros, the EU report says.
Greenpeace Sweden has confirmed again that the nuclear industry and governments don’t take lapses in safety measures very seriously.
Greenpeace has often pointed out deficiencies at nuclear reactors. Our report on the disaster in Japan, Lessons from Fukushima, shows that the real cause of the disaster was inadequate safety measures and regulatory controls, not the earthquake and resulting tsunami.
Greenpeace Sweden is calling on the government to stop putting its population at risk and take dangerous reactors out of service.
And maybe the government has finally started listening.
The country's Environment Minister said she is “very irritated” by the breach of security and wants to see company officials tomorrow.
It's about time.
(Images © Greenpeace)