lundi 10 novembre 2014

Drones over nuclear plants: EDF and the State are looking for a counterattack

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From "les ÉCHOS"

Drones : EDF and the State are looking for a counter attack

Recently, on its Website, EDF mentioned several claims after tracking “ the illegal presence of an aircraft comparable to a drone” on several nuclear sites, Bugey (above) included – Laurent CERINO/REA
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In October, drones have flown over several nuclear sites of EDF and CEA (Atomic Energy research centre).  This situation puts EDF and the State under pressure: regulations need to be implemented.
As unknown drones have flown over several nuclear stations during last week, EDF and the government are put under pressure. « There is a judicial investigation in course, there are some provisions to know and there are existing provisions to neutralize these drones », said Bernard Cazeneuve, the Interior Minister to France Info radio on Thursday.
Recently, on its Website, EDF mentioned several claims after tracking “ the illegal presence of an aircraft comparable to a drone” over several nuclear sites, (Creys-Malville, Blayais, Nogent-sur-Seine, Cattenom, Chooz, Gravelines and Bugey) between October 5 and 24th.  The same happened over infrastructures of the CEA. This makes advertisement not very appreciated by the Ecology Ministry, where the economic security and defense watch office is located.  « We don’t perceive this fact as an imminent danger, but we don’t want that other people make fun in doing this », said someone.

Flying over nuclear centres is forbidden in a 5 km perimeter and at a 1,000m height above the sites. Greenpeace denied any implication. It made a drone fly over La Hague in 2012 then used a paramotor above Bugey.
“No intelligence – acquainted operator”
The State shall bear the main role in this situation. Each power station has on site a group of 38-50 military police « gendarmes ». « The role of intelligence and fight against an aggressor are central State’s visi e misi. We don’t want to see intelligence-acquainted operator », said the Energy Minister. Taking to the force won’t be a favored option. « We don’t know where the drone would crash neither the location where these engines will finish their run. The engine’s capacity is low, it’s not worth taking to the force ». Detecting the pilots is the favored priority.
Moreover several night observations may have been confused with planes, said the ministry. Officially speaking, this new episode highlighted the delays observed in the safety enforcement of the sites. In 2009, the State gave to the nuclear operators (namely EDF, Areva and the CEA) several  « obligations to achieve a result towards reference threats ». Some studies are pending, whereas the reinforcement of infrastructure (such as detection means, wire fencing, reinforced doors…) shall be effective in late 2016. On its part, EDF advocates for strengthening the criminal sanctions and proceedings against legal entities in case of intrusion. This summer, a law was draft to be adopted in an order, before being put off. This draft may be taken in a future law on interior security.
As progress is expected about the power and the remote control of drones, used by EDF to watch its infrastructures, an inter-ministerial group has been nominated. There is no such event in Europe, thus the ministry has requested from some sensible sites operators, to inform it about any similar fact (for instance, refineries).

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