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ENERGY

Nuclear plant invaded by Greenpeace activists

Greenpeace activists sneaked into a French nuclear power plant on Monday, the environmental group announced, an "intrusion" which police confirmed.

Nuclear plant invaded by Greenpeace activists

In a statement Greenpeace said some members had entered the nuclear site at Nogent-sur-Seine, 95 kilometres southeast of Paris, to “spread the message that there is no such thing as safe nuclear power.”

Eight activists entered the power station site according to a source with the French gendarmerie, the armed police force, who added that some of the intruders had already been apprehended.

“A group of militants managed to climb onto the dome of one of the reactors, where they unfurled a banner saying ‘Safe Nuclear Power Doesn’t Exist’,” said Greenpeace spokesman Axel Renaudin.

“The aim is to show the vulnerability of French nuclear installations, and how easy it is to get to the heart of a reactor,” said Sophia Majnoni, a Greenpeace nuclear expert.

She denounced a government security audit of its nuclear plants as “a communications exercise which does not take into account risks already identified in the past and does not learn the lessons of Fukushima,” the Japanese nuclear plant which was crippled by an earthquake and tsunami.

The Nogent-sur-Seine plant, run by the EDF energy company, was chosen by Greenpeace “because it is the nearest to Paris,” Greenpeace said.

French Industry Minister Eric Besson said that if the dawn intrusion was confirmed it would indicate a dysfunction in the plant’s security system.

“If an enquiry confirms (the break-in) that would mean that there has been a dysfunction and that measures must be taken to ensure that it doesn’t happen again,” the minister said in French radio.

Greenpeace’s action came as UN climate talks entered their second week in South Africa.

Near the Durban conference site six Greenpeace campaigners were arrested as they tried to hang a banner reading “Listen to the People, not the Polluters” at a hotel where a “Global Business Day,” hosted by business organisations, was taking place.

ENERGY

France increases to €9,000 grants for property owners

A French scheme to provide financial aid to property owners seeking to replace oil and gas boilers with eco-friendly alternatives has been extended, with grants of up to €9,000 now available.

France increases to €9,000 grants for property owners

The French government will increase the amount of money available to replace gas and oil-powered boilers through the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme, part of a package of measures announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex on Wednesday

Environment Minister Barbara Pompili said that from April 15th, some households would be able to benefit from an extra €1,000 to “accelerate the replacement of fossil fuel-powered boilers with renewable heating solutions”, such as heat pumps and biomass heaters. 

It will no longer be possible to use state funding to replace a gas boiler with another, more efficient gas boiler. 

This brings the total state aid available for replacing boilers up to €9,000. 

Who can benefit? 

The funding for boiler replacement is available through the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme – which is available to anyone who owns property in France. 

Applicants for funding do however need a French numéro fiscal (tax number) and a copy of their latest tax declaration, which means those who do not file the annual tax declaration in France are effectively excluded. 

You can only apply for funding if your property is more than two years old. 

The amount of money you could receive depends on a range of criteria including: household income; the number of people living in the household; and the location of the property. 

You can read more about the MaPrimeRenov’ scheme HERE

Why is the government doing this? 

The move essentially allows France to faire d’une pierre deux coups – hit two birds with one stone.

One one hand, it will allow the country to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions in the face of the global climate crisis. 

On the other, it allows France to reduce its dependency on Russian gas – which has become a government priority ever since the invasion of Ukraine.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex said the government would target and end to dependency on Russian energy by 2027. The construction of new nuclear plants announced in February will also assist in reaching this objective.

You can read more about the government’s measures to insulate the French economy from the war in Ukraine HERE

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