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France : Nuclear Power-plants again flown over by drones

Published 1 November 2014

PARIS, 31 October 2014 – Drone aircraft have once again flown over two nuclear power-plants, in the night of 30-31 October, in spite of inquiries opened by the authorities after earlier incursions, as has been admitted by EDF (Electricité de France).

They overflew the plants at Golfech (Tarn-et-Garonne) and Penly (Seine-Maritime) "without compromising the security of the installations", according to the spokesman. Photos were taken by the gendarmerie, said i>Télé when revealing this information.

"The State and EDF are at present still unable to say who is organising these drone flights”, says the NGO Observatoire du nucléaire, unimpressed. "New flights occurred last night, EDF is a laughing-stock, and its so-called nuclear security is atomised."

The government had announced measures on Thursday after overflights by drones of power-plants and of sites of the CEA ( Commissariat for atomic energy).

Seven power-plants were java-scriptn by drones in October, said EDF on Thursday, but without compromising their functioning or security. The NGO Greenpeace has said it is worried about the “advent and repetition of suspect drone flights.”

In parallel, a spokesperson stated that several cases had occurred of CEA sites being java-scriptn and that a complaint had been lodged each time.


Colonel Jean-Pascal Breton, spokesman for the air force, played down the threat, emphasizing that the drones were very small and that the authorities had only eye-witness evidence. “The drones reported are mini-dromes on the market,” he said at a press conference on Thursday.

According to EDF, the plants java-scriptn betwenn 5 and 20 October were at Creys-Malville (Isère), Le Blayais (Gironde), Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), Cattenom (Moselle), Chooz (Ardennes), Gravelines (Nord) and Le Bugey (Ain).

Each one lodged a formal complaint against persons unknown, and informed the public authorities. Overflying of power-plants is forbidden around the sites inside a perimeter of 5km and 1000m altitude.

The overflights reported by EDF took place late in the evening, at night, or very early in the morning. Four sites were java-scriptn on 19 October, and on 20 October three flights were detected over the plant at Bugey.

For Greenpeace, which on Wednesday denied any involvement in the flights, the operation “is a large and ambitious one” (Gérard Bon, edited by Yves Clarisse).

Source : Reuters (in French, translation by ACDN)