In October, France’s state-run electical utility EDF reporter, seven of their nuclear generation facilities had detected flyovers by drones. At least 16 flights have been detected.
Flying within 5km of a nuclear plant is illegal in France.
“These are not the type of drones used by amateurs to take films,” said aviation safety expert Christophe Naudin. “They are used by real pros.” He said the model used costs around US$30,000. He said he thought it was unlikely that terrorists are behind the flights, saying it was much more likely to be the work of “environmental extremists.”
“If it’s not Greenpeace, it could be a group acting for Greenpeace,” he said. “They want to scare the public and create some kind of psychosis and it appears to be working,” he said. “They’ll want to do something more impressive to show they have the capacity to drop something, like a paint bomb, on to the plant. It would be a symbolic act.”
A Greenpeace spokesman denied the group had anything to do with the flights.
Yesterday, a man and a “student couple” were arrested near the Belleville-sur-Loire plant, but it appears they were not related to the “pros” flying the expensive drones, but rather hobby Drone Pilots who were trying to take video of a remote-controlled boat. “It looks like they wanted to play with their drones close to the plant, which was not a good choice,” a Greenpeace spokesman said — which we find odd, since now they do know something about the drone flights? Either way, the three were apparently within a security perimeter, and thus face possible prison sentences and fines.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says that security forces have “measures” to “neutralise” any drones. What does that mean? A local publication says police have been ordered to shoot down any aircraft that “could” threaten any nuclear plant.
France has 58 nuclear power reactors.