Greenpeace breaks into grounds of Swedish nuclear plants

STOCKHOLM, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Environmental activists from Greenpeace broke into restricted areas surrounding two Swedish nuclear power plants on Tuesday to highlight what they said were safety deficiencies.

The stations' owner, Vattenfall , said police had detained 43 people who had used ladders to climb over fences into the grounds of the Forsmark plant on the east coast, and another 16 people at the west-coast Ringhals plant who cut holes in the fence and entered on bicycles.

"The activists only reached areas with a lower safety classification," the state-owned firm said in a statement, adding that security measures had worked as planned.

Greenpeace Sweden said it was drawing the attention of the public, the nuclear industry and the energy minister, Lena Ek, to "serious safety deficiencies" and urged the government to shut the reactors.

A leak at a nuclear waste store in 2005 and the failure of emergency generators at Forsmark in 2006 fuelled criticism of nuclear power, which Swedes had voted in 1980 to phase out.

However, the current centre-right government is more pro-nuclear than its predecessors and decided in 2010 that existing reactors could be replaced. Vattenfall has applied to replace one or two reactors.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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