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France

France gets nearly 80% of its electricity from its 58 reactors. However, such a heavy reliance on nuclear power brings with it many major, unsolved problems, most especially that of radioactive waste. Despite assertions to the contrary, the French nuclear story is far from a gleaming example of nuclear success.

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Friday
Jan212011

Straight from the "whatever next" playbook

France is proposing to build underwater reactors, perhaps besting - or more accurately, "worsting" - Russia's floating reactor concept. As if the seas around northern France aren't contaminated enough by the radioactive effluent pumped from the La Hague reprocessing plant, small reactors would lurk just offshore, risking a Deep Horizon type disaster, nuclear style. The "anchored" reactors would be a joint project of DCNS, the French state-controlled naval company, Areva, EDF and the French Atomic Energy Commission. More at Remy Parmentier's blog.

Wednesday
Dec082010

France inks reactor deal with India making further mockery of NPT

Against the wishes of the thousands of local residents who will bear the radioactive risks, India has agreed a deal with France's state-run nuclear group Areva to buy two reactors for a new plant in Jaitapur in the western state of Maharashtra. The ultimate plan is for a 10,000 MW nuclear power plant. The first two reactors - the French-designed EPRs - put the French at the head of the race to make nuclear trades with India. Flouting the terms of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which states that non-signatories cannot get foreign support in developing nuclear power - the U.S., France and Japan have been  in eager negotiation with India. Meanwhile, demonstrations in Jaitapur by villagers, farmers and fishermen continue. One Indian nuclear official even avowed that "whatever comes out of the nuclear power plant, is not a waste."

Wednesday
Nov242010

"American Dream" looks over for EDF

Électricité de France, the French utility originally planning to expand nuclear energy in the U.S. through construction of the French EPR reactor, is backing away from the U.S. market. Having already been left stranded by its US partner, Constellation, at the planned Calvert Cliffs, MD new reactor site, EDF's French chairman and chief executive, Henri Proglio, now says EDF will look for business elsewhere. For EDF, the world's biggest nuclear operator, the U.S. represents "a significant stake but not an essential one," he told The Wall Street Journal in an interview in his central Paris office.

Saturday
Nov062010

Tens of thousands protest waste transport as it enters Germany

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated Saturday, November 6 against a shipment of nuclear waste travelling to a storage site in northern Germany, and some tried to block railway tracks in a protest fueled by a government move to extend the country's use of atomic energy, reports David Rising of the Canadian Press. Demonstrators turned fields outside the town of Dannenberg into a sea of yellow-and-red flags with the slogan "Nuclear Power — No, Thanks." Protesters estimated a final crowd of more than 40,000 peaceful demonstrators. The shipment of highly radioactive waste from the French reprocessing site in Normandy, traveled first by truck and then train across France and into Germany. Al Jazeera English also provides a report.

Saturday
Nov062010

Doomed French reactor should be abandoned now, expert says

Even if it is propped up with extensive government subsidies or full cost-recovery from ratepayers, the "Evolutionary Power Reactor" (EPR) - which the French government-controlled utility, Electricite de France (EDF) plans to deliver for the troubled Calvert Cliffs-3 project and other sites in the United States - is "in crisis"  to such a severe extent that it is likely to be an economic failure, according to a new report by University of Greenwich Professor of Energy Studies Stephen Thomas. "From a business point of view, the right course for EDF and Areva seems clear. They mut cut their losses and abandone the EPR now," Thomas concluded. (Photo: EPR the great bluff, by Greenpeace). Read the full report.

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