The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

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)

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 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

France’s government protects AREVA from criticism: goodbye to freedom of speech

civil-liberty-2smflag-franceAdieu Free Speech in Nuclear France: Areva Rules 31  Mar 2014    Almost two months ago, the French government condemned a French citizen-NGO for criticizing the almost completely French government owned nuclear company AREVA. (

How can a government sue its own citizen for raising a question of possible corruption? Shouldn’t the government provide
areva-medusa1documents proving that there was no corruption instead?

Since when do citizens have no right to criticize their own government or question its actions? This shows that France has no free speech and is no democracy.

We find AREVA a very worrisome entity. It is a majority French government owned nuclear multinational, and by all appearances, the French government seems willing to put the weight of the French military, and now French courts, behind it. What is this other than a Nuclear Empire?

And, AREVA is more widely present throughout the world than realized. It has been present at Fukushima, having provided its MOX fuel, and operating a post-nuclear disaster water purification system, which apparently failed, and other projects. (1) It is involved in the WIPP nuclear waste dump (2), which has recently leaked radiation in the USA; it is involved in the Savannah River MOX plant, which ran over cost and is being moth-balled by the USA. AREVA mines for uranium in Africa, where, by all appearances, the French military is throwing its weight around to protect its mining interests. AREVA works closely with majority French government owned EDF, as well.

The outcome of the appeal in this case, appears yet to be announced. But, the fact that AREVA sued a French citizen, running a tiny NGO-blog site, for defamation, and that a judge ruled in AREVA’s favour, shows just how out of control AREVA and the French State really are. It is hence unsurprising that AREVA has almost two hundred entries in Wise Uranium’s “Hall of Infamy”:

Below is our translation of the February 7th statement by the NGO,Observatoire du nucléaire, dealing with this topic. (French original here:

Observatoire du nucléaire
Statement of 7 février 2014

Condemned at the demand of Areva,
l’Observatoire du nucléaire, appeals this judgement which
seriously endangers the right
to denounce the misdeeds of the nuclear lobby

Friday, 7 February 2014, despite damning evidence made public byl’Observatoire du nucléaire (see, the 17th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Paris saw fit to condemn (to several thousand euros in financial penalties, details shortly) for ‘defamation’ this association, at the urging of the radioactive multinational Areva.

t is edifying to remark that it is not only the justice system, but almost the entirety of French society, the main political parties, with the majority of the ‘big’ media, at the forefront, who conscientiously turn their eyes away, in order to profit from the plunder of Niger’s uranium. So, Areva was finally just executing this dirty work.

France is too happy to be able to fuel its nuclear reactors by grabbing Niger’s uranium at a derisory price: it’s probably hundreds of billions of euros, which should be reimbursed to Niger, especially if one takes into account the serious environmental damage (contamination, drying up of groundwater) and public health (multiple cancers, displacement of the local population, etc.)

The supposedly ‘environmentalist’ party EELV, through its two ministers, and by the complicit silence of its parliamentary groups, is directly the accomplice of Areva and of the nuclear lobby……..

April 7, 2014 Posted by  | Uncategorized | Leave a comment Edit

April 7, 2014 Posted by | civil liberties, France | 3 Comments

Greenpeace Activists invade French nuclear power plant

Greenpeace--Fessenheim-14Activists breach French nuclear plant Sky News, , Tuesday March 18, 2014 Dozens of Greenpeace activists have snuck into a nuclear power plant in eastern France at dawn.

It’s the latest break-in by the environmental group to highlight alleged security weaknesses at atomic facilities.

The activists broke into the Fessenheim plant and hung a banner reading ‘Stop risking Europe’ on the side of one of its reactors.

They did this ‘to denounce the risk of French nuclear power for the whole of Europe,’ the group said in a statement on Tuesday…….

Police detained 56 activists, he said, but 20 remained on top of the dome of one of the reactors as a police helicopter hovered above.

France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country, operates 58 reactors and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.

But in a deal with the Greens before the 2012 parliamentary and presidential elections, President Francois Hollande’s Socialist party promised to cut reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 per cent to 50 per cent by shutting 24 reactors by 2025.

Hollande has pledged to close Fessenheim, which was commissioned in 1977, by the end of 2016.

The plant, located on the banks of the Rhine, is close to the Swiss and German borders and is considered vulnerable to seismic activity and flooding.

The Greenpeace protest stunt comes ahead of a meeting by European leaders to discuss the future of the continent’s energy policy.

Greenpeace wants Hollande and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to push Europe towards a real energy transition, complaining that France relies too much on nuclear power, and Germany on coal, for electricity supplies.

March 19, 2014 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear electricity costing industry 35% more does Germany’s electricity

nuclear-costsflag-franceFrance’s Industrial Giants Call for Price Cap on Nuclear by Tara Patel  Mar 17, 2014  France’s biggest electricity users urged the government to cap Electricite de France SA (EDF)’s wholesale nuclear-power price at the current level to help industrial consumers compete with German rivals.

The competitiveness of large French power consumers has “dropped off in a way that is extremely worrying,” the Uniden lobby group said today in a statement. The regulated rate is set at 42 euros ($58.50) a megawatt-hour. Uniden has written a position paper in response to a state consultation on power prices. While the body’s 41 members, which include PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) and Total SA (FP), strive to compete with foreign peers, EDF has embarked on a cost-cutting drive as spending increases to maintain and upgrade its 58 reactors.

France has said it will announce any revisions to the power rate or the way it’s calculated at the end of the month. The government already forces state-controlled EDF to sell about a quarter of its nuclear output to other French distributors to increase domestic competition. The country gets about three-quarters of its power production from EDF’s atomic fleet.

Large German industrial power users will pay 35 percent less for their electricity next year than those in France, Uniden said. “Even more preoccupying” is France’s inability to compete with North America, where the boom in shale gas has lowered the cost of energy supply, it said.

EDF, based in Paris, has said it can’t make ends meet unless it gets permission to raise the price of wholesale nuclear power. “One can’t demand of a company to sell a quarter of its output below cost in the long term,” Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said last month. The regulated rate helps EDF make “a step toward” meeting its costs of 50 euros a megawatt-hour, he said. Uniden called for tighter control of EDF’s costs and more “visibility” on the power price over the next five years.

March 19, 2014 Posted by | business and costs, France, Germany | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear power program stalled at best, planned to decline

Even if President Hollande’s plan for the transition stalls, it seems clear at least that there will be no further expansion of nuclear in France.EDF is planning to build two new nuclear reactors at Hinkley in western England with Chinese help, but at Flamanville in Normandy a new reactor of the same EPR design is behind schedule and massively over budget. A second envisaged EPR reactor in France has been shelved indefinitely – and no other new nuclear power stations are planned.

France struggles to cut down on nuclear power By Rob Broom  BBC News, 10 JAN 14 Paris “…….French President Francois Hollande also wants to cut nuclear output sharply – by a third in 20 years. It’s a big ask in a country that now relies on nuclear for 75% of its electricity.

If fully implemented, the pledge would force the closure of up to 20 of the country’s 58 reactors according to Professor Laurence Tubiana a former government adviser who the president asked to facilitate a national debate, paving the way for what they call le transition energetique.

This would be a huge step, but Tubiana describes it as a “logical evolution”.France realised that Japan had survived economically when all its atomic power stations were shut down because of its diverse energy mix. In Japan, before the disaster, nuclear power delivered about 30% of the country’s electricity, but France is hugely dependent not only on nuclear, but on a single generation of nuclear power stations.

It is vulnerable to a “generic risk”, according to Tubiana, where a problem with one reactor could force them all offline for the fault to be fixed. This would cause chaos.

She says the 20 reactors closed in the “transition” could be replaced by renewable energy, which she says would maintain French energy independence and be both “stable and secure”. Continue reading

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

Paris derailment of nuclear waste freight train

safety-symbol-Smflag-franceFreight wagon with nuclear waste derails at depot near Paris, no leak PARIS Mon Dec 23, 2013 (Reuters) – A rail freight wagon carrying nuclear waste derailed at a depot in Drancy, 3 km (2 miles) northeast of Paris on Monday, the mayor of the town said.
There was no leakage of nuclear waste, Jean-Christophe Lagarde said by telephone.

“Today at 1605 (1505 GMT), a freight car transporting radioactive material derailed in Drancy station,” said the mayor, who is also a member of parliament for the French centrist UDI party. About 4,000 freight wagons carrying radioactive or chemical waste pass through the station each year, Lagarde said, calling the incident “intolerable”.

France’s “Europe Ecologie Les Verts” (EELV) Green party called for an end to the transportation of radioactive waste through urban areas and busy stations following the incident.

“The slightest accident can have catastrophic effects,” the EELV party said in a statement. “All (nuclear waste) transport is risky and exposes populations to unnecessary danger.”

December 24, 2013 Posted by | France, incidents | 1 Comment

Taxpayer money for UK nuclear from French, as well as British?

text-my-money-2Areva may use French fund to help pay for UK nuclear plant -paper (Reuters) – Areva is in talks with the French flag-francegovernment to release some funds set aside for dismantling its nuclear installations in France to help the company finance a new British nuclear reactor, a newspaper reported.

flag-UKBritain signed a deal with France’s state-owned utility EDF in October to build a 16-billion pound nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in southwest Britain, the first new plant in Europe since the Fukushima disaster.d to help pay for UK nuclear plant – paper

PARIS Mon Dec 16, 2013 State-owned Areva is taking a 10 percent stake in the consortium that will build the facility, which also includes EDF’s Chinese partners China General Nuclear Corporation (CGN) and China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC).


December 17, 2013 Posted by | France, politics, UK | Leave a comment

Quest for uranium underlies France’s military intervention in Central African Republic

Paris is focusing on the uranium deposits in the Bakouma sub-prefecture of the Mbomou prefecture, in south-eastern CAR.

The primary sources of France’s uranium in southern Algeria and northern Mali and Niger are increasingly threatened ….

escalation of jihadist operations added a sense of urgency to the French quest for the uranium resources

uranium-oreBehind France’s intervention in CAR: Uranium supply security By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, Global Information System/Defense & Foreign Affairs 17 Dec 13 Operation Sangaris (a local exotic butterfly) — the French and MISCA (the French acronym for the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic) military intervention in the Central African Republic (CAR) — is escalating.

The French contingent will now be 1,600-troop strong, rather than the 1,200 agreed-upon at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The African Union’s (AU’s) MISCA force will grow to a total of 6,000 troops from Francophone African states, rather than the original estimate of 3,500 troops.

The hasty deployment of these forces only aggravates an already explosive situation in the country and region, and sparks new fighting where none existed before the international intervention had been announced. Most notably is the sudden resumption of fighting in Bangui, a city and region which had been completely quiet and secure literally until the day before the arrival of the new French forces.

The French-led Operation Sangaris had nothing to do with the oft-declared threat of “seeds of genocide” in the CAR. The French administration of President François Hollande is driven by the French desire for uranium ores. Continue reading

December 17, 2013 Posted by | AFRICA, France, Uranium, weapons and war | Leave a comment

French company installs world’s largest offshore wind turbine

Alstom Installs World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine by Energy Matters, 26 Nov 13,  French energy company Alstom has successfully completed installing the world’s largest offshore wind turbine, the 6 MW Haliade 150, at the Belwind test site off the coast of Belgium.

Engineered to endure harsh North Sea conditions, the Haliade 150 is the biggest wind turbine ever erected at sea. With a rotor diameter of 150-metres and blades nearly 75-metres long, Alstom predicts each model will provide a 15 percent higher energy yield than other wind turbines – enabling a single unit to power up to 5000 households.

Touted as the new generation in offshore turbine technology, the Haliade 150’s nacelle (engine housing) looms 100-metres above sea level and is designed to operate with a minimum of upkeep. The turbine functions without a gearbox, instead relying on direct drive, and a magnetic alternator system transfers unwanted stresses from strong winds away to the tower, optimising efficiency……

November 26, 2013 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

France’s dishonourable history in nuclear weapons proliferation

France’s own nuclear flaws LA Times November, Bennett Ramberg 16, 2013 France’s feisty objection to elements of the proposed Iran nuclear agreement may have merit, but Eric Edelman and Ray Takeyh are way off base writing that “France has an honorable history” in shielding the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and underlying norms. France has had a tradition of helping countries with suspect nuclear ambitions. Before the treaty, Paris provided Israel with the Dimona reactor that it knew would be used for weapons development. After the NPT went into force in 1970, France provided Saddam Hussein’s Iraq with the Osirak reactor. When questions arose, France refused to modify Osirak’s weapons-grade fuel. Paris also provided Iraq with equipment for laboratory work on nuclear enrichment.

In the early 1970s, France provided Pakistan with plutonium extraction technology. Only strong U.S. pressure in 1978 forced Paris to abandon the export of a large reprocessing plant, but this did not stop French companies from supplying other equipment that Islamabad used in the weapons program.

An early partner in India’s “peaceful” nuclear program, France also continued to assist New Delhi after it exploded its first nuclear weapon in 1974.

France has a lot of nonproliferation catching up to do if it is to be taken seriously.

The writer served in the State Department‘s Bureau ofPolitico-Military Affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration.,0,3444686.story#axzz2l1V1VIW6

November 18, 2013 Posted by | France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

How USA and France killed off nuclear agreement nearly made with Iran

exclamation-flag-IranWestern Backtrack on Uranium Enrichment Killed Iran Deal, France Sought to Change Deal at Last Minute by Jason Ditz, November 11, 2013 More details continue to emerge on the disagreements that prevented an expected weekend pact between the P5+1 and Iran, with a last minute side conversation between Secretary of State John Kerry and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius apparently keeping it from continuing. Fabius demanded last second changes to the draft agreement, including removing a clause guaranteeing Iran’s right to civilian uranium enrichment. Kerry reportedly endorsed that demand.

Iran has, under its safeguards agreement, every right to enrich uranium for civilian purposes, and has insisted they are willing to limit that enrichment, but not abandon the right outright.

That already put the talks on shaky ground, and Fabius followed it up with a demand that Iran abandon the under construction Arak reactor, which runs on unenriched uranium. Between the two demands this amounted to a de facto demand to surrender their entire civilian nuclear program, but the US and France continued to insist on only minor sanction relief. At that point though, the deal was dead and everyone just decided to meet again later this month.

November 15, 2013 Posted by | France, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power ” Very Disappointing “ – economists

flag-franceEdF’s major shareholder, the French government, is looking to reduce the share of nuclear in France’s generation to around 50 per cent from more than 70 per cent, and intends to fill that hole with (cheaper) renewables.

EdF has effectively handballed the risk of new nuclear to consumer and the UK government. The consumer is picking up the tab through higher electricity bills, and the UK government is using taxpayers money to guarantee 65 per cent of the project cost. 

nukes-hungryNuclear Energy Verdict:” Very Disappointing “ Clean Technica, Giles Parkinson, 112 Nov 13 (very good graphs, diagrams) …..we have received an analysis from Deutsche Bank, which makes some other observations about the cost of nuclear, the comparisons with gas, the price of abatement, and the cost of upkeep for France’s existing fleet.

The first point made by Deutsche is that this deal underlines the fact that nuclear is not cheap, but really, really expensive – a point that should not be forgotten in Australia, where there is still a push for nuclear in some quarters despite the abundant alternatives (in particular solar) that are not available to the UK.

As we have noted in the other article, the £92.50/MWh strike price is nearly double the current average cost of generation in the UK. Deutsche takes issue with the UK government’s claim that the contract is “competitive with other large-scale clean energy and with gas’.  Continue reading

November 12, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

Fukushima “aid” from French nuclear industry – calls radiation illnesses “psychological”


Chernobyl Children Fukushima Children   The French nuclear industry establishes Fukushima “aid” programs right now, with co-support by Fukushima Medical University. The aim is: All Fukushima diseases are psychological and “pure panic reaction” – people overreact. NGOs who talk of danger are irrelevant and irresponsible. These “aid” programs work closely together with local government and are even supported by some anti-nuclear activists and vip’s – national and abroad. Scientists and journalists also cooperate. Meanwhile radioactive atoms remain invisible in breast milk, and bone sarcomas grow fast.

November 4, 2013 Posted by | France, Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

France’s Flamanville EPR fiasco – not a good look for UK’s new nuclear reactors

Dr Paul Dorfman, of the Energy Institute at University College, London, believes the British public is facing a turbulent nuclear future. He says: ‘It’s extremely likely that the construction at Hinkley Point will be over-budget and late. It is unfortunate because it will be the UK taxpayer and consumer, no doubt, who will be picking up the bill.’…..

Professor Steve Thomas, an energy policy expert at the University of Greenwich, has written a damning report on the EPR project, claiming, in 2010, that the entire design and construction was ‘in crisis’. His 26-page report catalogued the errors at Flamanville and in Finland, and concluded construction had gone ‘dramatically wrong’.


Deaths, chilling safety lapses, lawsuits, huge cost over-runs and delays: Why we can’t trust the French with Britain’s nuclear future, Daily mail UK, , 26 October 2013,  By STEVE BIRD

  • EDF’s nuclear reactor plant at Flamanville, Normandy, is beset by financial mismanagement and the deaths of workers
  • EDF, along with French nuclear group Areva and investors from China, are due to start work on a £16bn plant in Hinkley Point in Somerset in 2017 It will be the first nuclear reactor in the UK in nearly 20 years – and also first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR)
  • … yet no reactor of this design is yet working anywhere in the world……
  • The optimism and excitement of that first day of construction is now long gone.Since then, the predicted cost of just under £3 billion has rocketed to more than £7 billion (it could go up still further). Continue reading

October 29, 2013 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment


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