The Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate (ENSI) has filed criminal charges against Greenpeace activists illegally entered plant grounds and committing vandalism by drilling holes into the secondary containment well of a nuclear reactor at the Benzau nuclear power plant in Aargau province. The incident resulted in a temporary shut down of the reactor and, fortunately, no one was hurt. The two protesters were also charged for another incident that occurred in 2008 at the Leibstadt nuclear plant also located in Aargau. Holes were allegedly drilled by activists in the cooling tower at the Leibstadt plant to install two fire extinguishers.
The Benzau and Leibstadt protests were part of anti-nuclear actions on the part of Greenpeace at locations across Europe of which Switzerland has five. Despite their providing 40% of the country’s energy, the Swiss government ordered them shut down in light of Japan’s Fukushima incident. Swiss officials have not stated when the reactors will be decommissioned. Had the damage caused by the activists not been caught,
When it comes to power generation for human use, any industrialized power source is going to have risks to human life associated with it. Comparing all other manners of power generation such as wind, solar, electric and nuclear power, nuclear power by far has the fewest incidents of human beings killed either by plant reactor incidents or industrial-related accidents. The protests took place in Switzerland because Greenpeace wants the nuclear plants there shut down sooner than government officials state. However, the fact that one of Japan’s governors recently allowed Fukushima’s nuclear plant to go back on line and that nuclear power is safer than other methods of energy delivery are points you won’t hear from Greenpeace.