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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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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.

Friday
Nov052010

Chilling first footage of most radioactive transport ever on the move through France

In French but the images speak volumes:


Convoi le plus radioactif de l'histoire : premières images
Uploaded by gpfrance. - Up-to-the minute news videos.

Wednesday
Nov032010

Sustainable Guernsey decries increased tritium releases into sea and air

"Our seas should not be regarded as a convenient dustbin into which unwanted and potentially dangerous waste products can be dumped in order to externalise the costs of nuclear power production and make it appear cheaper than it actually is." This statement is included in a longer one by Sustainable Guernsey revealing that the Flamanville reactors - which can be seen from the Channel Islands off the coast of Normandy - have been permitted to increase the level of radioactive tritium discharge into the sea and air. This is likely a violation of the OSPAR convention and is almost certainly, as the statement points out, to accommodate the future releases from the enormous "16,000 MW European Pressurised Water Reactor (Flamanville 3) presently under construction which, when completed will be larger than the two other PWRs on the same site." (Pictured: Flamanville 3 construction site).

Friday
Oct292010

Train carrying most radioactive cargo ever to leave France for Germany

On November 5 and 6, a train carrying vitrified radioative waste from the La Hague reprocessing facility in France will begin its Germany to Gorleben, Germany, constituting the most radioactive train cargo to date. Eleven CASTOR casks will travel to Germany's temporary waste site, the scene of numerous protests. The transport risks exposures to citizens along the route as well as posing a serious security target. The French anti-nuclear network, Sortir du Nucleaire, has published the cask transport timetable and has expressed grave concerns at the risks posed by the transport. The network also points out that it is reprocessing that has necessitated the dangerous transport of this highly radioactive waste in the first place.

Wednesday
Oct272010

No new partner yet for EDF as Constellation departs U.S. reactor project

Constellation officially dropped its demand to sell its former partner, Electricite De France, a large portfolio of conventional power-generating stations but exited its partnership with the French utility to build a French reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. Constellation departed with a $140 million buyout and will get back 3.5 million Constellation shares bought by EDF in December 2008. However, as a foreign corporation, EDF cannot move forward with the Maryland reactor project without a majority U.S. partner. To date, no new candidates have stepped forward. Constellation withdrew due to financial concerns after the U.S. Energy Department asked for a fee of $880 million to compensate taxpayers for the risk they would take on a loan guarantee of about $7.6 billion, a fee Constellation said would doom the project.

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