30 activists detained at nuclear power protest

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Greenpeace activists gathered outside the country’s oldest nuclear power station Thursday to demand its closure.

21 November 2008

MADRID – Police in Spain detained 30 Greenpeace activists Thursday who had blocked the entrance to the country's oldest nuclear power station.

The environmental group is urging the government to close the power station.

Sixty protesters, wearing bright yellow raincoats, gathered outside the entrance Garona power plant, located some 350 kilometres north of Madrid, just before dawn, according to Spanish television.

Several chained themselves to the gates of the facility, others sat in the road leading into the plant while eight activists barricaded themselves inside a container set up in front of the entrance.

Police moved in some 10 hours after the protest began to clear the entrance to the plant, which a spokesman said continued to operate normally throughout the day despite the demonstration.

Nuclear power is highly unpopular in Spain and Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has vowed to gradually phase out nuclear power as part of a drive to boost reliance on renewable energy sources like wind and solar power.

But as oil prices hit record levels earlier this year, the government has not ruled out extending the working lives of Spain's existing eight nuclear power plants which supply about 20 percent of Spain's electricity needs.

"Zapatero would make a big mistake if he decides to turn his back on the anti-nuclear majority," said the director for the Spanish arm of Greenpeace, Juan Lopez de Uralde.

[AFP / Expatica]

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