French activist drops a smoke bomb on nuclear plant

In this photo taken Wednesday May 2, 2012, provided by Greenpeace an activist in a motorized paraglider flies over the Bugey nuclear power plant, near Saint-Vulbas, central France. AP Photo

(AP) PARIS - An environmental activist was arrested Wednesday after dropping a billowing smoke bomb onto the roof of a French nuclear reactor ahead of a key presidential election debate, Greenpeace and police said.

Video footage (watch below) from the dramatic stunt captured the airborne activist on a motorized paraglider after he dropped the smoke bomb at the Bugey site 22 miles east of Lyon.

The activist began circling the reactor before making a wobbly descent to the ground with a parachute marked "Greenpeace." The name of the activist was not released, but local police confirmed the arrest.

Plant owner EDF has defended the site's security measures, saying in a statement they "were strengthened in late 2011 (to) allow detection and immediate apprehension of the perpetrator."

Record EU jobless rate boosts anti-austerity push
Sarkozy to woo far-right to try to win re-election

Greenpeace nuclear spokesman, Yannick Rousselet, told The Associated Press the spectacle was meant to stimulate a political debate on nuclear power.

"We're four days ahead of a presidential election, and neither (President) Nicolas Sarkozy or Francois Hollande are taking the issue seriously. Seventy-five percent of French electrical consumption is nuclear, and this needs to drop. We hope this will be a talking point in tonight's TV presidential debate," said Rousselet.


Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App