Strike demo at French nuclear plant

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French strikers protesting to defend their right to retire at 60 set up a picket line outside a nuclear power plant in the west of the country Friday, management said.

Around 150 protesters were filtering cars arriving at the Civaux plant and allowing essential staff inside, a company official said, adding that the demonstration has had "no effect on safety or power output at the plant."

France generates three-quarters of its electricity through nuclear energy, and has been forced to import large quantities of power from its European neighbours in recent weeks due to pensions protests.

At Civaux, one reactor was still functioning at 100 percent capacity, while a second has been closed since the weekend in order to be loaded with fuel. The firm said reloading did not appear to have been slowed by the protest.

Sixteen of France's 58 reactors are currently closed, 12 for maintenance and four because of unplanned technical issues, electricity generating firm EDF said earlier this week.

© 2010 AFP

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