Thursday, November 15, 2007

French Nuclear Phase-Out?

France's anti-nuclear group Sortir du Nucleaire claims the country can phase-out all of its nuclear plants in five to ten years (in French). Here is World Nuclear News' take:

The pressure group's recently published 100-page report, Nucleaire: Comment en sortir?, presents a highly detailed plan of far-reaching energy saving measures that it says could enable the country that famously relies on nuclear power plants for 78% of its electricity to close them all down. It then advocates an energy efficient vision of France which uses other generation options - including fossil fuels.

The group's vision of electricity generation in a nuclear-free France relies chiefly on wind power, with aims to build 11.8 GWe of terrestrial wind power and 10 GWe of maritime wind power facilities in five years, rising to 24.3 GWe and 15 GWe respectively in ten years. At present France has only 2 GWe of wind powered generation, although the report points to Germany's current example of a wind fleet with the capacity to generate 20 GWe.
I am pretty sure 39.3 GWe of wind will not replace France's 63 GWe nuclear fleet. More:
The burden of saving energy would have to fall heavily on French businesses and the public. The report suggests measures to replace incandescent lightbulbs, refrigerators and freezers with energy-efficient models, reduce the amount of energy wasted by electrical appliances left on standby, and fixing a maximum energy ceiling for industrial processes using electricity. It also calls for an end to the use of electricity for space and water heating, the prohibition of air conditioning in private homes and the imposition of a 19 degree C limit for room heating.

This might be regarded as "a loss of comfort and quality of life" in some quarters, says the report, "but we bet that if this relative discomfort eventually allowed [France] to leave nuclear then this [would] appear much more bearable."
Well at least the anti-nuclear group is being honest about a diminished quality of life without nuclear. I doubt the French citizens will go for it though.


bw said...

The talk of banning air conditioning is interesting, considering that 14,802 people, mostly elderly, died in France from heat in 2003.

Apparently these environmentalists in France want to get rid of all of their pesky elderly.

Matthew66 said...

Given the importance of Areva and EDF to the French economy this has zero chance of happening. Added to this, the French government has a social security liability that, as a percentage of GDP, dwarfs even the USA's social security liabilty. The French union movement is very militant, and very pro nuclear, especially considering the jobs it creates. If there were even a hint of anything like this getting a reading in Parliament, there would be riots on the streets of Paris.

Anonymous said...

So much for the anti-nukes being pro-life!

bryfry said...

It's easier that way. Just think of the social security savings! You can take all of the money saved from not paying dead retirees and spend it on wind turbines.

I predict that sortir du nucléaire will soon start selling Soylant Green in a "bake sale" fashion to raise money. Why not kill two birds (or two old people, as the case may be) with one stone?

Anonymous said...

Population reduction, forced or not, is often at the heart of some of these leftist philosophies and policies. For all of their faux concern for "the poor" and "the needy", they are, at heart, social Darwinists.

DV8 2XL said...

Given that the average French citizen is very proud of the fact that France is a world leader in nuclear energy, I don't see this getting much traction with the public over there.

I mean think about it a Frenchman giving up something that they best the British, Americans and Germans at. Unthinkable!

Stephen said...

France phase out nuclear? France has benefited massively from their nuclear energy program. They're EXPORTING power. They don't have to resort to economically crippling energy rationing. While other countries are wondering how they could reign in hydrogen power or plug in hybrids, France sits back because they're all set for them.

Sure, they could ditch nuclear energy. All they'd have to do is cut back... a HUGE amount. They could also live in mud huts. They could also give up antibiotics and vaccines and telecommunications.

Why the hell would they want to? Nuclear has served them well. They made a very wise decision a while ago and have stuck with it. With the US had done the same..

Gunter said...


Perhaps you all missed it but a recent report in the French newspaper Les Echos quotes Dominque Miallard, chairman of French grid management as saying that EDF is being forced "to import record levels of electricity" due to prolonged outages as the result of technical problems at French reactors. You know when you have a problem at a French reactor is usually winds up a generic industry problem affecting large sections of the fleet. 16% of the n-industry went off line.

As a consequence in October, France increased its imports of power by 143% and reduced its exports by 21%, and "the scenario is likely to repeat itself often this winter," according to Les Echos.

BTW, I was just up in Alberta for a week where the public is effectively mobilizing against AREVA efforts to nuclear power the petroleum industry up there on the tar sands. Really dirty business.
So much for that "Clean Air" motto.
Just more of the same CON (coal, oil, nuclear) job.