Nuclear Espionage: French Spies Vs. Greenpeace
Photo via Atomic Age
It was a fierce game of cat and mouse that played out across international boundaries, between multimillion dollar organizations. Top secret information on nuclear reactors was snagged by spies—or was it? Things get complicated when it comes to Nuclear Espionage. No, that's not the voice over for the trailer from some spy thriller B-movie. It's a real life case involving one of the biggest nuclear power companies in Europe, conniving French spies, and the notorious environmental organization Greenpeace. And it could get nasty.
The nuclear industry in Europe—never the most trusted energy sector by any means—has recently seen a buzz of accusations fly back and forth. Why?According to the New York Times,
French judges last month opened an investigation into allegations that the power company’s executives may have been involved in espionage — including breaking into computer systems at Greenpeace offices.
That power company is Electricite de France, or EDF, one of the biggest nuclear power corporations in Europe. The company is responsible for supplying France with a whopping 80% of its power. Evidence has surfaced that the giant company was attempting to hack into Greenpeace computer servers, and two employees have been indicted on the charges. It wouldn't be the first time companies have spied on environmental groups.
And as with any good spy thriller, there's an emotionally resonant back story giving extra heft to the whole affair:
More than two decades ago, the French secret service bombed and sank a Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, which was being used to protest French nuclear testing in the South Pacific. One person died in the attack.
Things were never the same. France and Greenpeace sustained a mutual distrust, sizing each other up . . . until now.
Now, Greenpeace has decried the actions of EDF and seeking further legal action against the company—which could spell trouble for the nuclear industry.
If there's any energy industry that needs to keep its nose clean, it's nuclear—with Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, and the fears surrounding nuclear waste, you'd think those trying to expand the industry would tread lightly. But no, it looks like we're destined for dubious acts of subversion and high stakes international intrigue.
How will the whole thing end? Guess we'll have to wait for the suspects to go to trial to see—or until they make a movie out of all of this.
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