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Energy transition in Europe as nuclear power exits

The number of economically competitive non-nuclear options has therefore grown alongside the growing number of non-fossil options.

Europe’s Nuclear Exit Strategy The Market Oracle, Mar 30, 2012   By: Andrew_McKillop“.….NUCLEAR EXIT: THE SYMBOL OF ENERGY TRANSITION Even in France, where decades of state brainwashing on the benefits of nuclear power had created an apparent public-and-political consensus in favour of the Friendly Atom, opinion polls now indicate a straight majority of French want to quit nuclear power.

This opinion shift is powerfully aided by now much better information becoming available on the fantastic subsidies and support that have gone to French civil nuclear power since its very origins in 1957.

Also due to the sheer size of the French nuclear power system and its age, decommissioning will produce impossible to hide impacts on the power bills of all
consumers and users, in a context where new-build reactors to replace retired and dismantled reactors (in a process that can take 30 years for each reactor) are prohibitively costly, at admitted costs as high as 6500 euro per kiloWatt (close to US$ 9000 per kW) for Areva’s “Generation III” EPRs.

Under any scenario therefore, the
percentage-nuclear of French electricity will fall, and have to be
replaced by “something else”.

The political and social dimension is already in play, in the French
case. In March 2012, the Sarkozy outgoing government announced that
previously voluntary nighttime cuts, from 1 am to 6 am, in all
commercial and street lighting, from shops, offices, advertising
hoarding and monuments to lighting on autoroutes, would be made
mandatory in the future. These voluntary cuts, made during the peak
cold of February 2012 in response to imminent risks of region-wide
blackouts, were estimated as able to cut French peak power demand as
much as 25%-33%, equivalent to about 30 000 MW. Public opinion
responses to cutting the all-day, all-night and weekend lighting of
offices and street advertising hoardings were judged highly positive
by French politicians aware of how much 30 GW of new-build nuclear, or
any other power capacity would cost.

While nuclear power had an undeserved and carefully manipulated image
of “clean power”, sold as a key solution to global warming and energy
security (despite the EU27 states importing 97% of their uranium fuel
needs !), coal-fired power has a terrible image and reality, except in
the highest-cost and highest-tech “clean coal” plants with
edge-of-technology capacities for wringing electrical kilowatthours
from the 8 kWh of thermal energy in each kilogram of higher quality
energy coal. …….
The result in Europe is already clear: gas-fired power plant owners
and operators are shutting down their capacity and exiting the
business or delaying new-build decisions, as they adapt to the de
facto rise of windpower capacity, and (for them) the slowly emerging
twin menace of solar PV capacity growth. ….  The number of
economically competitive non-nuclear options has therefore grown
alongside the growing number of non-fossil options…

March 31, 2012 - Posted by | business and costs, France

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