Greenpeace Activists Breach Security at Nuclear Reactor

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands (AP) - Greenpeace activists broke onto the grounds of a Dutch nuclear reactor Wednesday and painted a giant crack on its outer shell, a protest aimed at exposing the danger of nuclear energy.

Around 30 demonstrators, dressed in nuclear waste drum costumes, climbed a fence and scaled the walls of the high-flux Borssele reactor, the focus of decades of protests in the Netherlands.

Security guards were immediately at the scene with dogs, but did not stop the demonstrators.

Greenpeace, a staunch opponent of any form of nuclear energy, said in a statement that its safe use can never be guaranteed.

"Reactors not only produce nuclear waste, but also can be targeted by terrorist attacks. But the government is nonetheless considering allowing the reactor to remain open," it said.

After initially setting a closure date of 2013, the current Cabinet reopened the sensitive issue in February, saying all options must be kept open in addressing the country's growing energy needs.

The activists called on Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende's government to close the reactor and invest in renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind and biomass.

The reactor, operational since 1973, has been the focus of protests by environmental groups for decades. It is owned by the Zuid Nederland Electricity Company and has a thermal power of 450 megawatts, enough to power a million homes.