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France and nuclear power: the end of the affair is coming?

plants-downIs France’s Love Affair with Nuclear Over? Oil Price, By Chris Dalby | Sun, 19 October 2014  French President Francois Hollande has promised to limit the growth of the country’s nuclear power, many older reactors have been targeted for decommissioning, and Greenpeace and other environmental groups have been relentless in their anti-nuclear campaigning. But until now, it seemed unlikely that France would ever truly rethink its love affair with nuclear power.

Last week, it did. On Oct. 10, France’s parliament voted to begin moving to undo decades of nuclear growth and to reduce its importance to the country’s energy mix. Over the next 11 years, France will reduce the amount of electricity coming from nuclear by one-quarter — from 75 percent to 50 percent. To do that, estimates are that as many as 20 of France’s 58 reactors would have to be closed.

The vote was part of a package of legal reforms in France’s long-awaited energy transition law, a main pillar of which was slowing nuclear power production and then maintaining it at the new lower level before progressively lowering it over the next 10 years.

The second pillar was removing bureaucratic hurdles that prevented renewable energy projects from getting off the ground. A trial period will see wind, solar, bio-gas and small hydro projects receive streamlined authorization in seven French regions.

A comparison of the contribution of renewables versus nuclear in France’s energy mix shows the massive disparity that the government is seeking to address. In June, France had 8,592MW of onshore wind installations and 5,095MW of PV, translating to 3.8 percent and 1 percent of the country’s energy needs. This compares to 63.2GWe of nuclear capacity.

The energy transition law aims to erase this imbalance. At 50 percent of national energy production, nuclear will remain the biggest source, but will be supported by a boosted renewables sector, with wind and solar levels similar to Germany’s…………

In March, around 60 Greenpeace protesters managed to spectacularly infiltrate Fessenheim in northeastern France, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant, which is set to be decommissioned in 2016. The activists deployed a huge banner on one of Fessenheim’s reactors, reading “Stop Risking Europe”, in support of their argument that France’s aging nuclear installations put all of Europe at risk, much like Chernobyl. Europe-Ecologie Les Verts (EELV), backed the protest at the time, widening a rift with Hollande’s Socialist Party that the energy transition law hopes to close……..

the pressure is on. Germany, Belgium and Switzerland are all abandoning nuclear power. Flagship nuclear firm Areva, which builds nuclear plants around the world, is not the profit-making juggernaut it once was. Nuclear is no longer as cost-competitive as it used to be compared to natural gas, wind and PV…….http://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Nuclear-Power/Is-Frances-Love-Affair-with-Nuclear-Over.html

October 21, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Cut back nuclear power, champion renewable energy – France’s parliament votes

flag-franceFrench MPs back cut to nuclear energy reliance http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/10/10/us-france-energy-idUSKCN0HZ1LB20141010 (Reuters) - A law which fixes a target of reducing French nuclear power production from 75 percent of the country’s energy supplies to 50 percent by 2025 won approval from the lower house of parliament on Friday.

France, the world’s most nuclear-reliant country, has faced increasing costs because of the price of maintaining aging plants and tighter regulations after the Fukushima disaster inJapan.

It also wants to develop its own industrial champions in the renewable energy industry, which is still tiny compared to other European countries such as neighbors Germany or Spain.

Its much-delayed energy transition law, steered by energy minister Segolene Royal, is being reviewed by the national assembly under a fast-track procedure, to counter the thousands of amendments proposed by opposition MPs. Although the bill skirts the question of how the reduction in theshare of nuclear energy is supposed to happen — it does not single out any reactor for closure, for instance – it caps nuclear electricity capacity at the current 63.2 gigawatts.

That would force EDF, which operates all of France’s nuclear reactors, to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1.6 gigawatt next-generation Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

Royal said earlier this week the utility could choose to close another plant than Fessenheim, France’s oldest and the one Hollande had promised to shut down.

The whole bill is expected to be approved next Tuesday before being sent to the country’s upper house early next year, with the view to final adoption in the spring, in time for a high-profile climate conference hosted in Paris in 2015.

The bill also introduced a goal to halve the country’s energy consumption between 2012 and 2050, with a midway target of a 20 percent cut by 2030, thanks to tax rebates on insulation work and bonuses for electric car buyers.

France’s energy deficit — the difference between the money it spends on energy imports such as oil and gas and the money it earns on exports such as electricity — amounted to 66 billion euros ($83 billion) in 2013.

That compares with a wider trade deficit of 62.2 billion euros.

(Reporting by Emile Picy; Writing by Michel Rose; editing by Keith Weir)

October 13, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

France moving away from nuclear power – transition to renewable energy

flag-franceFrench parliament backs nuclear cuts, Business Spectator AFP  10 OCT,  Lawmakers in France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, have voted to cut reliance on the energy source from more than 75 per cent to 50 per cent within a decade.

Friday’s vote is part of an ambitious makeover of France’s energy use promised by President Francois Hollande during his 2012 election campaign.

The measure calls for renewables to increase in the energy mix for electricity production, rising from 23 per cent in 2020 to 32 per cent in 2030.

Use of fossil fuels should drop to around 30 per cent.

The measure also sets a goal for a reduction of 40 per cent in greenhouse gas emissions from the 1990 levels by 2030 and a 75 per cent reduction in 2050. t also targets a 20 per cent reduction in energy consumation by 2030, in line with a draft project EU leaders are set to consider at an October 23-24 summit in Brussels…http://www.businessspectator.com.au/news/2014/10/10/resources-and-energy/french-parliament-backs-nuclear-cuts

October 11, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

France doesn’t want domestic nuclear power, but keen to sell it to South Africa

fighters-marketing-1South Africa, France ink nuclear partnership, DW 10 Oct14 Only three weeks after partnering with Russia, South Africa has reached a similar nuclear agreement with France. The deals represent Pretoria’s renewed steps in building up the country’s nuclear energy program. outh Africa signed a nuclear power deal with France, the South African government announced Friday, as Pretoria aimed to expand its nuclear power to 9,600 MW.

President Jacob Zuma authorized “an agreement on cooperation in the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy” with the French Republic, a statement from his office said.

The deal comes only three weeks after Africa’s second-largest economy reached a similar agreement with Russia, which will provide the country with eight nuclear reactors by 2023 in a $50 million (39.5-million-euro) contract.

But Russia has estimated the contract value to be more around tens of billions, as one reactor costs around $5 billion.

No further details on the deal with France were provided, and the circumstances surrounding the signing remain murky, according to local media reports……http://www.dw.de/south-africa-france-ink-nuclear-partnership/a-17987145

October 11, 2014 Posted by | France, marketing | 2 Comments

France’s Energy Dept ponders on costs of keeping old nuclear plants going: renewables may be cheaper

nukes-sad-flag-franceFrance to weigh costs of maintaining older plants in nuclear policy http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/10/05/france-nuclear-idINL6N0S00F220141005  PARIS Sun Oct 5, 2014 Oct 5 (Reuters) - France’s energy minister said on Sunday that the cost of maintaining older reactors would be factored into any decision on the future size of its large and aging nuclear power fleet.

The government already plans to shut the Fessenheim plant on the German border as part of a pledge to bring down atomic energy to 50 percent of French power output by 2025 from the current 75 percent, the highest share in the world.

But it has skirted the issue of whether to extend the operating life of its 58 nuclear reactors, which state-owned utility would like to prolong from 40 years to up to 60 years.

“Investments in reactors at the oldest plants don’t last forever. You then have to re-invest and that is very expensive,” Energy Minister Segolene Royal told France 3 television.

“If it costs a lot more to carry out maintenance to make older plants secure, it would be better to build renewable energy installations,” she said.

France, like other European countries, faces rising costs to maintain a nuclear fleet with an average age of about 30 years. EDF has estimated that extending the life of the plants would cost 55 billion euros.

About half of its reactors are due to reach the current 40-year limit during the 2020s. French nuclear watchdog ASN has said it will give an initial opinion on the issue next year. Royal is steering through parliament an energy transition bill that introduces a cap on nuclear power production, which would force EDF to close an equivalent capacity when it launches the 1,600 megawatt Flamanville reactor, due in 2016.

She said this week the government could choose to close another site than Fessenheim but dismissed as “fanciful” a 5 billion euro estimate made by two parliamentarians for the cost of closing Fessenheim. (Reporting by Gus Trompiz and Michel Rose; editing by Jane Baird)

October 6, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

The IARC-WHO classification of cell phone radiation is misrepresented by the industry

Use of Cell Phones Increase Cancer Risk, Natural Healing Tools News,  (DNA, August 18) Dr Dariusz Leszczynski, Adjunct Professor, Division of Biochemistry and cellphone radiation as possibly carcinogenic, in conversation with Maitri Porecha, reveals how leading cell phone operators and manufacturers are withdrawing funding for research, leading to closing down of laboratories studying effects of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields as emitted by cellphones and cell towers. Excerpts -

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1. How was cell phone radiation categorized as group 2B carcinogen, based on increasing risk of Glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and WHO?
The number of mobile phone subscriptions is estimated at 5 billion globally. With rising concerns over adverse health effects, in 2010, IARC invited thirty one experts to evaluate evidence involving carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation. The experts assembled at IARC headquarters in Lyon, France, in a meeting that lasted for twelve days in 2011. Experts shared the complex task of tackling the exposure data, the studies of cancer in humans, the studies of cancer in experimental animals, and the mechanistic and other relevant data. Groups worked separately and together sifting through many hundred research studies. After intense deliberations, we agreed upon the group 2B classification.
2. On one hand, cell tower operators and industry stake holders say that cell phone radiation does not cause cancer, on the other hand the residents or activists posit a precautionary stand point by saying that it may cause cancer. Why there is no clarity?
The IARC-WHO classification of cell phone radiation is misrepresented by the industry. Classification of cell phone radiation as ‘a possible carcinogen to humans’ means that there are enough studies indicating that it might cause cancer and that we urgently need more research to clarify this issue. The strongest evidence that it might be causing cancer comes from three epidemiological studies. In 2011, two sets of studies were available – EU’s Interphone study and a series of studies from Lennart Hardell’s group in Sweden. Recently, CERENAT study from France published in 2014, similarly indicated that persons using cell phones for more than ten years and for half hour per day are at a higher risk for developing brain cancer. In fact now the evidence is sufficient to consider cell phone radiation as a probable carcinogen – Group 2A in IARC’s scale of carcinogenicity.
3. Could you describe your work on cell phone radiation? Did you discover that it has ill effects on human health and if yes, in what way?
Our research has shown that human cells exposed in laboratory to cell phone radiation activated series of biochemical reactions in them known as ‘stress response,’ which means that the living cells recognize cell phone radiation as a potentially harmful agent. Stress responses are signals that intend to protect the living cell from any potential damage. In the 2008 study conducted by us, a small area of human forearm’s skin in ten volunteers was exposed to GSM signal for one hour. After that, pieces of the radiation exposed skin and unexposed skin were collected and used for ‘proteomic analysis.’ In it, all proteins from the skin samples were extracted and amounts of different kinds of proteins in exposed and unexposed skin samples were compared. After the analysis of nearly 580 proteins, we identified eight proteins which were statistically significantly affected. We determined that the amounts of several proteins were changing after the exposure. After acquiring this result in the pilot ten-volunteer-study, we intended to conduct a larger study with 100 volunteers from 2009 onwards. This study did not start due to lack of funding and opposition from the telecom industry stakeholders.
4. Why did the government did not sanction funds? What happened?
My laboratory studies on effects of cell phone radiation to human health began in 1999. My lab, which was government-run, was closed down in 2013 due to lack of funding as certain cell phone manufacturers and network operators in Finland were opposing the large scale human studies. We receive grants from government to conduct studies but in spite of making positive headway on research our funding was stopped. We were cut off from funding as the telecom industry was against it.
While majority of the funding for such research projects consists of tax payers money and industry pumps in only a part of the money, the advice of industry is highly valued during sanctioning of funds by the government………..
8. WHO is working on a new report summarizing the health risks of radio-frequency fields, to be published next year? What is the researchers’ fraternity expecting out of the report? As also, do you think there is now evidence enough after the release of French epidemiological study in 2014 that classification of cell phone radiation should be shifted from Group 2B to Group 2A or Group 1?
The yet to be released WHO report has been delayed for ten years. They were waiting for the results to see if the Interphone project was finalized and, later, for the IARC evaluation of carcinogenicity. The WHO report will analyze all effects of radiation possibly fertility in humans and other health issues, not only cancer.
ICNIRP scientists are involved in the WHO report and, therefore, one cannot expect that it will substantially differ from what ICNIRP is saying.
The recent French CERENAT epidemiological study provides, together with Interphone and Hardell studies, is an evidence sufficient to consider cell phone radiation as a probable carcinogen – Group 2A in IARC’s scale of carcinogenicity…..

September 22, 2014 Posted by | 2 WORLD, France, radiation | Leave a comment

Geriatric disorders in old nuclear reactors – Britain, France and Belgium

safety-symbol1Insight: The cost of caring for Europe’s elderly nuclear plants LONDON (Reuters) 18 Aug 14 

“…………...GERIATRIC DISORDERS  Britain has 16 reactors in operation that came online from the 1970s to 1990s, and all but one will be retired by 2023 unless they get extensions.

At the Wylfa plant in Wales – Britain’s oldest, at 43 years – the one remaining operational reactor was out of service for seven months this year. It was first taken down for maintenance, but the restart was delayed as new problems were discovered.

The reactor is scheduled to be taken out of service for good in September, but operator Magnox is seeking an extension to December 2015.

This week, EDF Energy took offline three of its nuclear reactors at its Heysham 1 and Hartlepool plants in Britain for inspection which are both 31 years old, after a crack was discovered on a boiler spine of another Heysham 1 reactor with a similar boiler design, which had already been taken offline in June. [POWER/GB]

The boilers will be checked for defects with thermal imagery done using robotics, and the firm will know more about what caused the fault after the inspections, which should take around eight weeks, the EDF Energy spokeswoman said. EDF Energy has been incorporating extra checks into its strategy for its ageing nuclear plants since it inherited them from previous operator British Energy, she said.

British Energy was delisted in 2009 following financial collapse. Several unplanned outages had reduced its power output, and its load factor – the ratio of actual output to its maximum capacity – fell to its lowest level of 56 percent in 2009, Britain’s National Archives show.

This compares with EDF’s average load factor for its French nuclear fleet of 73 percent in 2013, which is also down from its highest level of 77.6 percent in 2005, the company’s 2013 results show.

The fleet’s net output of electricity has declined from 429 terawatt hours in 2005 to 404 TWh last year, though this could be for a range of reasons, including weak energy demand.

Apart from reducing the reliability of Europe’s electricity supply, operators stand to lose many millions of euros from a single outage from lost electricity sales alone. Reuters calculations, based on industry estimates of lost daily electricity sales, show the outages at two EDF Energy plants could cost the firm some 155 million pounds during the outages from when they began in June or August to October, not including the costs of inspection and maintenance work.

Industry sources say the lost revenue from the loss of output at a 1 gigawatt plant could reach 1 million pounds a day.

British utility Centrica, which owns 20 percent of EDF Energy’s nuclear fleet, said on Monday the reduction in output would reduce its earnings per share by around 0.3 pence this year.

More than half of Belgium’s nuclear capacity is offline for maintenance. The three closed reactors are 29, 31 and 32 years old.

Though it doesn’t break out the nuclear data separately, statistics from Europe’s electricity industry association Eurelectric show both planned and unplanned outages mostly increased at thermal power plants in eight European countries examined, and periods of energy unavailability increased from around 12.8 percent in 2002 to 18.3 percent in 2011.

As the plants age, that can only increase. Additional reporting by Barbara Lewis in Brussels and Geert de Clercq in Paris; Editing by Will Waterman)   http://www.firstpost.com/world/insight-the-cost-of-caring-for-europes-elderly-nuclear-plants-1668443.html

August 18, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France, safety, UK | Leave a comment

Defects in EDF’s nuclear reactors could close down many reactors: a warning to France

safety-symbol1Belgian Doel 4 nuclear reactor closed till year-end Major turbine damage forces closure till year-end By Geert De Clercq PARIS, Aug 14 (Reuters)  “…In Britain, EDF Energy, owned by France‘s EDF, took three of its nuclear reactors offline for inspection on Monday after finding a defect in a reactor of a similar design.

The problems of the two French utilities with their reactors abroad may serve as a warning of possible generic flaws that could appear in EDF’s ageing nuclear park at home.

With 58 reactors in 19 nuclear plants, France is the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, relying on it for nearly three quarters of its power.

All of its plants are of the same basic Pressurised Water Reactor design, which means that a flaw discovered in one of EDF’s reactors could force the closure of others…..http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/14/belgium-nuclear-doel-idUKL6N0QK43R20140814

August 16, 2014 Posted by | France, safety | 1 Comment

Tough times for nuclear giant AREVA – shares plunge, sales wither

thumbs-downAreva’s stock plunges on sales warning, solar exit  PARIS, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Shares in French nuclear power group Areva closed 20 percent lower on Friday, the worst fall since the company was formed in 2001, as it posted a first-half loss, exited a thermal solar power business and cut sales targets.

The shares were down by as much as 23 percent earlier in the session with trading the busiest by volume since late February, when Areva posted a net loss of nearly half a billion euros.

Chief Executive Luc Oursel dropped a long-held target to sell 10 nuclear reactors by 2016, saying it would “take a few more years” and the firm warned that 2014 revenue would fall 10 percent, more than the 2-5 percent decline forecast in February.

areva-medusa1Areva, which has not sold a new nuclear reactor since 2007, hopes French utility EDF will get the green light from European Union competition authorities this year to build two Areva reactors in Britain, but its reactor sales are suffering badly from the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Billions of cost overruns and multi-year delays in four projects involving its flagship EPR reactor have also hit the state-owned firm’s image, whileRussian, Korean and American reactor builders are winning orders at its expense……..

Revenue fell 12.4 percent to 3.89 billion euros and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) more than halved to 226 million euros from 487 million.

Oursel said the nuclear market environment had further deteriorated as constructionprojects for new reactors abroad as well as reactor overhaul operations in France had been delayed.

As a supplier to the utilities industry – which is suffering from overcapacity and slack power demand – Areva is feeling the impact of its customers’ efforts to cut costs and is trying to make savings itself to restore profitability.

The firm hiked its cost cut target to 1.2 billion euros from 1 billion and said it would cut 1,500 jobs in Germany by the end of 2015, as well as 200 jobs in the United States this year. It had earlier warned of 1,200 to 1,500 job losses in Germany. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/08/01/areva-results-idUKL6N0Q71IK20140801

August 4, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Nuclear power to wind down in France, as renewable energy winds up

sun-championflag-franceFrance to Dim Its Reliance on Nuclear Power Government to Raise Profile of Renewables in National Energy Mix at Expense of the Atom By  G, WSJ, ERALDINE AMIEL June 18, 2014 PARIS—France, one of the world’s biggest proponents and exporters of nuclear power, is losing its appetite for the atom at home.

French energy and environment minister Ségolène Royal on Wednesday presented a bill to boost renewable sources in the national energy mix and limit nuclear power production at current levels.

“We must diversify our energy sources and the share of nuclear will have to drop,” Ms. Royal told a news conference………

The new bill would cut nuclear’s share of France’s energy mix to 50% by 2025 from 75% now, while the share of renewables should increase to 40% from around 15% by 2030. The move confirms Mr. Hollande’s pledge during the presidential campaign of 2012.

France is the world’s second-largest generator of nuclear power, after the U.S., with 58 reactors dotted around the country. They are all owned and operated by state-controlled power giant Electricité de France SA, EDF.FR +0.11% which operates 15 more reactors in the U.K…….

The government is betting that this latest energy legislation that offers credit lines, subsidies and tax rebates will help create around 100,000 jobs over the next three years in the renewable and energy-saving industries, while cutting customers’ electricity bills and helping curb carbon emissions……..

According to energy experts, the increased use of renewable energy as proposed by the new bill would ultimately lead to the closure of 23-25 reactors out of 59 by 2025…….http://online.wsj.com/articles/france-to-dim-its-reliance-on-nuclear-power-1403113287

June 19, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

By 2020 France’s wind and solar power to be cheaper than its nuclear electricity

flag-franceFrench nuclear more costly than renewables by 2020 – Greenpeace PARIS, June 12 Thu Jun 12, 2014 (Reuters) - Electricity produced by onshore wind and solar plants may become more competitive with power generated by upgraded nuclear plants in France by the end of this decade, a study by environmental group Greenpeace showed on Thursday.

The study comes a week before Energy Minister Segolene Royal presents the broad lines of a much-delayed framework energy law that aims to spell out how France will cut the share of atomic energy to 50 percent from the current 75 percent by 2025.

scrutiny-on-costsThe rising cost of France’s nuclear energy is a concern and the government should set up independent expert institutions to help it plan long-term energy investments, a parliamentary committee said in a report published on Tuesday.

According to the Greenpeace study, the investment needed to upgrade French utility EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors to bring them close to the safety level of a new-generation EPR reactor would raise median production costs to 133 euros ($180) per megawatt-hour (MWh). That estimate, based on an extension of the lifespan of current reactors by 10 years to 50 years and 4.4 billion euros worth of work per reactor, would make nuclear energy less competitive than onshore wind power around 2015, the study said.

Greenpeace also sees the cost of photovoltaic power falling to less than 134 euros/MWh around 2019 from more than 250 euros/MWh today, making it competitive with the renovated French nuclear plants by that time……

French regulator ASN is expected to give a first opinion on whether reactors can be granted life extensions in 2015 and decide reactor by reactor in 2018-2019.      ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Michel Rose; Editing by James Macharia, Larry King) http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/06/12/france-nuclear-idINL5N0OT2LN20140612

June 13, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear dilemma

France caught between nuclear cliff and investment wall BY MICHEL ROSEPARIS Wed Apr 30, 2014 (Reuters) - France must decide in the next few years whether it wants to continue its nuclear-driven energy policy at a cost of up to 300 billion euros (246.8 billion pounds) or if it wants to embark on an equally costly route towards using other fuels.

Most of the country’s 58 nuclear reactors were built during a short period in the 1980s, and about half will reach their designed age limits of 40 in the 2020s, pushing France towards what industry calls “the nuclear cliff.”

Public support in France for nuclear power has traditionally been strong but is looking shakier since the 2011 nuclear reactor meltdown at Japan‘s Fukushima facility following a massive earthquake and tsunami. And French President Francois Hollande has said he wanted to cut the share of atomic energy in France’s electricity mix to 50 percent from 75 percent by 2025, reduce oil and gas consumption and boost renewable energy.

A replacement of the nuclear plants run by state-controled utility EDF (EDF.PA), or a switch towards alternative sources would cost huge amounts of money.

“There’s a problem, which is decision-making. Are we going towards a new nuclear fleet or not? This needs preparation,” Jacques Repussard, the head of state-funded nuclear advising institute IRSN told Reuters in an interview. EDF has advocated an extension of the reactors’ lifespan to 50 or even 60 years, arguing that they were modelled on similar reactors in the United States which have been granted 60-year licences.

But French nuclear watchdog ASN, the only authority allowed to grant this extension, has so far repeated that the utility should not take this extension for granted and would only give a first opinion next year and a final one in 2018-2019………..

On the one hand, EDF wants to cash in on its nuclear know-how through exporting its technology and services, including to Britain’s nuclear investment power programme.

Yet EDF also faces a 55 billion euro upgrade of its existing reactors by 2025 and will have to decide on how to finance their ultimate replacement, at a potential cost of up to 240 billion euros, about six times EDF’s existing debt pile.

“If you close down all nuclear reactors when they reach 30 or 40 however, you will need to build a huge new fleet, that would be a massive challenge not only from a financial point of view but also from a project management point of view,” said Laszlo Lavro, head of the International Energy Agency’s Gas, Coal and Power division.

Within the government, ministers have voiced contradicting views on nuclear energy, even though the departure of the Green party from the government has made the pro-nuclear case stronger.

An energy transition bill now slated for July has been repeatedly delayed, with Paris naming its fourth energy minister in less than two years earlier this month.

 

Newly appointed energy minister Segolene Royal, a powerful voice in the new government, has skirted questions on nuclear policy at a news conference earlier this week……….

Decisions cannot be delayed indefinitely as building new energy infrastructure, especiallynuclear power plants, takes time.

Construction of France’s pilot new generation reactor in Flamanville, which started in 2007, has seen repeated delays and cost overruns and is currently expected to be finished in 2016……http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/04/30/uk-france-nuclear-analysis-idUKKBN0DG0KC20140430

 

May 2, 2014 Posted by | France, politics | 2 Comments

Vast majority of French people prefer renewable energy, would not invest in nuclear power

flag-franceFrance moving away from Nuclear power http://www.enn.com/energy/article/47327 27 April 14 France may be the world’s most nuclear energy dependent country, but times are changing as the country looks to increase the amount of wind—sourced electricity in its power mix. 

When French President François Hollande took the reins of power in 2012 he pledged to reduce the country’s nuclear dependency from 75% to 50% by 2025. Today, France has a goal of reaching 19 GW of wind energy by 2020, up from its current level of 8.2 GW, according to the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) latest statistics. This will significantly raise the percentage of wind powered electricity in the country from the 3% wind covers today. And, according to a very recent survey, the French people are firmly behind the transition.

Some 64% of French people see wind energy as a solution, among others, in the context of the energy transition, says a CSA survey published in March 2014. Moreover, 80% of the 1010 respondents consider it necessary to invest in wind without waiting for the traditional power plants to reach the end of their lifecycle.

65% of those surveyed said that they would invest in renewable energy (wind and solar/photovoltaic) today if they had to personally invest in one energy source, while 15% chose nuclear, 7% chose gas and 1% chose coal. Meanwhile, 69% of French people would choose wind energy if they had to choose one energy type to be constructed in their region. 75% chose solar, 21% chose nuclear, 16% chose gas and 4% chose gas.

The results show that the French are aware that an energy transition must take place, they are confident enough in renewables to invest if they could, and they know that the time to act is now.

April 28, 2014 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

3 French nuclear plants fail safety test

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceFrench nuclear watchdog singles out 3 plants for safety shortfall   By Michel Rose PARIS, April 16 (Reuters) - France’s nuclear watchdog singled out three of EDF’s 19 nuclear power stations for having a below-average safety performance in its annual safety report, which also asked for more enforcement powers such as the ability to impose fines….. There were 127 level-1 incidents on the 7-level International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) in France in 2013, ASN said, and two level-2 incidents.

Level-1 incidents are minor procedural infringements and level-2 incidents can refer to cases of minor exposure to radiation…….

The watchdog also mentioned shortfalls in terms of radiation protection at Cattenom near the German border and in terms of impact on the environment at Belleville in the Loire valley, Chooz near Belgium, and Chinon.

Chevet said the ASN needed a more graduated array of sanction powers on operators such as EDF.

The watchdog can at anytime stop operations at a nuclear plant if it considers it presents a danger for the public and can also issue public warnings, but Chevet said an ability to impose fines for each day of safety breaches would be useful.

“We clearly lack intermediary sanction tools, for when shortfalls last for one, two, three years, but don’t require a shutdown of the plant,” he said.

The presentation to parliament of a much-delayed energy transition bill planned in July could be the opportunity to introduce such powers, he added. (Reporting by Michel Rose. Editing by Jane Merriman) http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/france-nuclear-safety-idINL6N0N74K120140416

April 17, 2014 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

France’s prosecutor examining AREVA’s finances

French prosecutor probes Areva buy of Canadian miner  https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/french-prosecutor-probes-areva-buy-084747257.html France’s financial prosecutor has opened a preliminary probe into state-controlled nuclear giant Areva’s controversial 2007 purchase of a Canadian uranium miner, a judicial source said Thursday.

The probe focuses on the $2.5 billion (1.8 billion euro) purchase by Areva of UraMin at a height of demand for enriched uranium.

Areva was later forced to revalue its UraMin uranium mines to only 410 million euros.

Canadian media reports have suggested the sale was preceded by suspicious stock trades.

French newspaper Le Monde said France’s Cour des Comptes, which oversees state accounts, had referred the case to prosecutors. It said the Cour des Comptes is to release a report into Areva’s 2006-2012 finances later this month.

Areva’s chief from that period, Anne Lauvergeon, said in a statement Thursday that the deal was “strategic at the time”, noting that it was “submitted and approved by the group’s decision-making bodies”.

April 11, 2014 Posted by | France, Legal | Leave a comment

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