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WSJ: "Remove the regulatory barriers to further investment in nuclear power."

In the wake of last week's news concerning the award of the ITER project to France, the Wall Street Journal is suggesting that the U.S. could learn much (subscription required) from the example of France's experience with nuclear energy:
No country gets a larger share of its total electricity from nuclear power than France at 78%. Perhaps more amazing, France consumes less than 4% of the world's energy but produces a sixth of its nuclear power. Because the groundwork for this nuclear proficiency was laid in decades past, France deserves to be at the center of the attempt to take the next big step forward, fusion . . .

"Sudden climate change" -- the current re-definition of the "global warming threat" -- will come up at this week's G8 summit in Scotland. Instead of browbeating President Bush for not signing the Kyoto Protocol, industrial nation leaders could do more for economic growth and the environment by vowing to follow France's example and remove the regulatory barriers to further investment in nuclear power.
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Tom DC/VA said…
"industrial nation leaders could do more for economic growth and the environment by vowing to follow France's example and remove the regulatory barriers to further investment in nuclear power."

More lies from the WSJ. The French nuclear industry is highly state-controlled and hardly model of free-market enterpise.
Rod Adams said…
I have to concur with Tom on this one. The French nuclear power program is certainly not an example of how removing regulatory barriers would encourage more nuclear power development.

France is, however, does provide some good basis for understanding why some countries provide fertile ground for groups opposed to nuclear power while others do not.

Until De Gaul recognized that France could develop and build a domestic nuclear industry, it was a country whose history since the Industrial Revolution had been greatly influenced by the fact that it is not blessed with indigenous fossil fuel resources. It was a great power in the age of sail, but once people began capturing power from coal, oil and gas, France faded in comparison to its rivals - mainly Great Britain, Germany, Russia and the United States - all of whom had excellent sources of fossil fuel.

France was able to build nukes with little opposition because there was no fossil infrastructure to pay the anti-nukes to demonstrate.
Vern Cornell said…
I cannot agree with Tom and Rod.
France is very competitive.
She wants to build in China and elsewhere in competition with the two USA companies and in compete with SoKorea and Japan. We should surely applaud this.
Vern cornell

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