Activists set off fireworks at nuclear plant to uncover 'vulnerabilities'

The Cattenom power plant is just over the Luxembourg border

The Cattenom power plant is just over the Luxembourg border

Greenpeace environmentalists stepped into a French nuclear power plant today and launched fireworks, the Associated Press reported.

Greenpeace said the fireworks were set off at the foot of a spent fuel pool (SFP) - where nuclear plants store highly radioactive fuel rods that are removed from reactors after their use.

EDF, which operates the plant, said the activists were a few tens of metres away from nuclear installations but were stopped eight minutes after entering the site in Cattenom, eastern France.

Local police said eight people had been detained.

"Had they been ill-intentioned people, or had there been a doubt about that, things would have happened differently and within a different timeframe", Lamarre said.

Greenpeace is now campaigning for France to create special bunkers over its nuclear waste pools.

EDF immediately refuted the report, saying in a statement that its nuclear plants were "safe, properly monitored and very well protected" and that it was constantly evaluating their resistance to criminal acts or terrorism.

State-controlled EDF - whose 58 reactors provide three quarters of France's electricity - denied its spent-fuel pools were at risk and said they had been created to withstand earthquakes and flooding as well as terror attacks.

France now gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear power.

French President Emmanuel Macron's government promises to increase the share of renewables in electricity production and reduce dependency on nuclear power plants, which now account for more than half of production.