Watch: Greenpeace Crashes 'Superman Drone' Into Nuclear Power Plant To Expose Facility's Dangers

Authored by Jessica Corbett via Common Dreams,

"Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No... it's a drone dressed up as Superman, exposing how vulnerable French nuclear power plants are."

Greenpeace France on Tuesday crashed a drone dressed as Superman into the Bugey nuclear energy plant, located about 20 miles east of Lyon, to expose how vulnerable that facility is to a terrorist attack and highlight the broader dangers of this type of power generation.

The activists told AFP that the drone struck "a storage pool for spent nuclear fuel next to a reactor, one of the most radioactive areas at the site."

"This is a highly symbolic action: it shows that spent fuel pools are very accessible, this time from the air, and therefore extremely vulnerable to attack," Yannick Rousselet, head of Greenpeace France's anti-nuclear campaign, said in a statement.


Greenpeace France spokesman Cyril Cornier told Le Parisien, in French, that the action itself did not pose any danger to the plant, its workers, or the public, but insisted that by crashing the flying device into the plant's "most fragile point," they had proven beyond any doubt that the security of the facility "is absolutely not assured."

Responding to the action, the French electricity group EDF said that police had intercepted one of two drones piloted by Greenpeace and announced plans to file a formal complaint with authorities. EDF also claimed, "The fuel building is key for security, designed in particular to withstand natural or accidental damage."

Greenpeace EU, on Twitter, called EDF's response "worrying."

France derives about 75 percent of its electricity from 19 state-controlled plants, according to the World Nuclear Association. Activists worldwide have repeatedly sought to draw attention to the dangers of this type of power generation—but particularly in France, where it is so prevalent.

Last October, Greenpeace France activists entered another of EDF's nuclear plants and set off fireworks. At the time, the group emphasized on Twitter, "These installations are vulnerable." AFP reports that in February, "eight activists were sentenced to jail terms or fines" for participating in the firework action.


Croesus IridiumRebel Tue, 07/03/2018 - 21:00 Permalink

During 9/11, the workers at Oyster Creek (Three Mile Island's sister-plant in NJ) were absolutely terrified that the spent-fuel pool at the plant was on "the terrorists'" target list. The NJ Nat Guard was deployed there almost immediately, and there were scuba divers in the water as a precautionary measure.

Greenpeace are absolute fucking morons for calling attention to this vulnerable area on nuke plants...why give idiots and crazies any ideas?

In reply to by IridiumRebel

Herd Redirecti… 847328_3527 Tue, 07/03/2018 - 21:47 Permalink

The word sabotage is of a French origin, and is believed to originate with the use of wooden shoes, sabots, to clog gears of machines.  Such as those used to pump water out of mines! 

At least that is the anecdote that Neal Stephenson uses.

Reminds me of Putin's joke, telling a German audience "What are you going to use instead of oil?  Wood?  You would also need Siberia for that!"

In reply to by 847328_3527

I am Groot Herd Redirecti… Tue, 07/03/2018 - 22:13 Permalink


Sabotage is the ancient Dutch art of screwing up your own team. It is sometimes said that some workers (from Netherlands for some, canuts from Lyon for others, luddites in England, etc.) used to throw their wooden shoes, called "sabots" (clogs) in the machines to break them, but this is not supported by the etymology. Rather, the French source word literally means to "walk noisily," and wearing wooden shoes is an example of walking noisily. Originally this was used metaphorically to refer to labor disputes, not damage.[1]

One of its first appearances in French literature is in the Dictionnaire du Bas-Langage ou manières de parler usitées parmi le peuple of D'Hautel, edited in 1808.[2]

In reply to by Herd Redirecti…

SoDamnMad Croesus Wed, 07/04/2018 - 00:26 Permalink

So a couple lb. at most drone hits a thickened concrete wall and goes... b-dink.  Whoope dee do.  If you saw pictures of the World Trade Center outer walls and the way an aluminum winged jet sliced through those heavy steel box structures you might question the story of the jets taking down the World Trade Center and not some art students (from you know where) camped out on the 91st floor for weeks. A full size jet might, might create a problem for the building housing the spent fuel rods. So round up all those Airbuses and let's try it.

In reply to by Croesus

effendi SoDamnMad Wed, 07/04/2018 - 07:32 Permalink

A full sized jet would have no problems puncturing any building as long as the jet was modified. Take an old (serviceable) jet from a bone yard, rip out everything inside and put in a great big piece of steel (like a 50 ton bullet). Then fly it at max speed into the building and the kinetic energy will punch through the wall and the shrapnel (lumps of concrete) from the impact will shatter everything inside.

In reply to by SoDamnMad

jin187 Croesus Wed, 07/04/2018 - 09:57 Permalink

I'm not sure why they're terrified.  That drone could have had however many pounds of semtex it could carry strapped to it, and it wouldn't have made a dent in that plant.  That's reason these plants aren't that heavily guarded.  There's no commercially available projectile weapons, explosives, or vehicles that could damage the plant enough to cause a meltdown, or even a significant radiation leak.  Maybe if Greenpeace had managed to ram a hijacked 747 into the plant, or showed us how easy it is to smuggle tanks into France, it'd be worth worrying about.

It's also funny that people think we're giving them ideas.  The idea to blow up nuclear plants has been the plot of countless TV shows and movies.  People have been using drones for illicit activities since the moment they hit the market.  Do any of you really think that if such an attack were possible, and had any chance of success, that the terrorists wouldn't have already tried it?  I'm sure the moment this went viral, somewhere in Libya, some terrorist was like "Omar!  OMAR!  Look at the TV!  I just got this great idea!  Yes, Amazon?  I need a drone, and a pound of tannerite.  Do you ship overnight to France?".

In reply to by Croesus

torabora Croesus Wed, 07/04/2018 - 15:21 Permalink

One of my friends was flown to the melt down emergency. He donned SCUBA gear to dive down to an underwater valve that needed to be shut off to save the plant. If it wasn't for him, ....well who knows?

In reply to by Croesus

kiwidor eforce Wed, 07/04/2018 - 01:53 Permalink

makes perfect sense.  the french have 7 levels of failsafe.  they have the best nuclearology in the world.

and even if they didn't... a fucken 600g drone ain't gonna do nothing to those cooling towers.


In reply to by eforce

nmewn Arising Tue, 07/03/2018 - 20:44 Permalink

"France derives about 75 percent of its electricity from 19 state-controlled plantsaccording to the World Nuclear Association."

France can always be found at the intersection of Hypocrisy Ave and Karl Marx Blvd, they've turned it into an art form, call it, avante garde Neo-Realism if you like, from a "government sponsored entity" perspective of course ;-)

In reply to by Arising

edotabin nmewn Wed, 07/04/2018 - 02:24 Permalink

Also, look at their safety record. It is easy to locate. This is one thing the French have done very, very well. Greenshit picked the wrong place for a stunt like this (not that there is a right place).

I don't find this stunt to be even remotely amusing regardless of the chances of causing damage being zero. This is mindless behavior. They put drawing attention to themselves over absolutely anything. Insidious, malicious pricks.


In reply to by nmewn