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Greenpeace paraglider lands in French nuclear facility

The stunt was intended to draw presidential candidates' attention to the vulnerability of the country's nuclear plants.

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Employees of the Bugey nuclear power plant wait outside the plant on May 2, 2012 after a Greenpeace activist flew into the grounds of the plant using a motorized paraglider. (PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS, France -- A Greenpeace activist has been arrested after using a motorized paraglider to fly into the grounds of a French nuclear power plant.

AFP quotes a police spokesman from Bugey in southeastern France as saying that the activist "flew over the plant, threw a smoke bomb and landed inside, where he was detained."

EDF, which runs France's main energy firm, confirmed the incident, but insisted that the paraglider had not gained access to the reactor building.

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The stunt was intended to highlight France's dependence on nuclear energy ahead of tonight's televised debate between the presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy of the UMP and Socialist Francois Hollande, according to Reuters.

"This overflight shows the vulnerability of the French nuclear site to an air attack. While Germany took account of a plane crash in its safety tests, France still refuses to analyze this risk for our reactors," Sophia Majnoni d'Intignano, a spokeswoman for Greenpeace is quoted as saying in a statement.

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The local English language newspaper The Connexion says a second person was arrested outside the complex.

In December 2011, nine Greenpeace protesters infiltrated the Nogent Sur Seine plant near the French capital Paris, while two broke into Cruas plant in southern France.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/120502/greenpeace-paraglider-lands-french-nuclear-facility