The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

France’s nuclear energy strategy — once its pride and joy — faces big problems this winter

CNBC Sam Meredith, @SMEREDITH19 5 Oct 22,

  • Deep-rooted problems with France’s nuclear-heavy energy strategy are raising serious questions about its winter preparedness.
  • A long-standing source of national pride, France generates roughly 70% of its electricity from a nuclear fleet of 56 reactors, all operated by state-owned utility EDF.
  • In recent months, however, more than half of EDF’s nuclear reactors have been shut down for corrosion problems, maintenance and technical issues.

…………………….. more than half of EDF’s nuclear reactors have been shut down for corrosion problems, maintenance and technical issues in recent months, thanks in part to extreme heat waves and repair delays from the Covid pandemic. The outages have resulted in French power output falling to a near 30-year low just as the European Union faces its worst energy crisis in decades.

“I find the France nuclear relationship really interesting because it just bluntly shows you all of the pros and cons of nuclear,” Norbert Ruecker, head of economics and next generation research at Julius Baer, told CNBC via telephone.

“Yes, it’s low carbon but it’s not economic. You need to nationalize EDF to make it happen. Yes, it offers baseload but wait a second, sometimes a whole plant disappears for weeks and months, so that baseload promise is not really there,” Ruecker said.

……………………………………………… A ‘winter of discontent’?

French power prices climbed to a string of all-time highs this summer, peaking at an eyewatering level of around 1,100 euros ($1,073) per megawatt hour in late August. Analysts fear the country may struggle to produce enough nuclear energy to support both its own needs and those of its neighbors in the coming months.

Underlining the structural problems in the country’s nuclear fleet, France not only lost its position as Europe’s biggest exporter of electricity this year but also, remarkably, actually imported more power than it exported.

Data from energy analysts at EnAppSys that was published in July found that Sweden clinched the top spot as Europe’s largest net power exporter during the first six months of 2022. Prolonged outages in France’s nuclear fleet saw the country’s exports halve from the same period last year, and analysts at EnAppSys warned the situation showed “no signs of improving any time soon.”

To compensate, France imported expensive electricity from U.K., Germany, Spain and elsewhere.

“Thanks to the market, thanks to the power lines that we have, Europe saved France from a big blackout” this summer, Julius Baer’s Ruecker said.

“It was the U.K., Germany, Spain and to some extent Switzerland that all stepped in. So, for me, the past month really has just uncovered some of the political talk which was not always objective,” he added, referring to talk of nuclear energy as a climate solution among politicians…………………………………………………….

What does it mean for Europe?

France’s ailing power output has renewed criticism of its nuclear-heavy energy strategy at a time when many others in Europe are turning to atomic power as a replacement for a shortfall in Russian gas.

Germany, which initially planned to shutter its three remaining reactors by the end of the year, decided to delay its nuclear phaseout to shore up energy supplies this winter. The U.K., meanwhile, is seeking to ramp up its nuclear power generation, and the EU has listed nuclear energy among its list of “green” investments.

“It is important to say that if France has a nuclear problem, Europe has a problem as well in terms of electricity,” Alexandre Danthine, senior associate for the French power market at Aurora Energy Research, told CNBC via telephone.

“They are, in general, a big exporter, but in winter they need energy from neighboring countries in order to satisfy demands — whatever the situation,” Danthine said.

In France, Eurasia Group’s Rahman noted, Macron reacted angrily last month to suggestions, including from outgoing EDF boss Jean-Bernard Levy, that his “stop-start approach” to nuclear power in the last five years was partly responsible for the crisis.

In what was widely seen as a policy U-turn, Macron announced in February his intention for France to build at least six new nuclear reactors in the decades to come, with the option for another eight. At the start of his presidency, Macron had committed to reducing the share of nuclear power in the country’s energy mix.

The reversal controversially placed atomic power at the center of France’s bid to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.

Advocates of nuclear power argue it has the potential to play a major role in helping countries generate electricity while slashing carbon emissions and reducing their reliance on fossil fuels.

To critics of the energy source, however, nuclear power is an expensive distraction to faster, cheaper and cleaner alternatives. Instead, environmental campaign groups argue technologies such as wind and solar should be prioritized in the planned shift to renewable energy sources.


October 6, 2022 Posted by | France, politics | Leave a comment

Poland suggests hosting US nuclear weapons- ‘nuclear sharing’

Poland suggests hosting US nuclear weapons amid growing fears of Putin’s threats, Julian Borger in Washington, 6 Oct 22, Andrzej Duda, the Polish president, in September. He said there was ‘a potential opportunity’ for Poland to take part in ‘nuclear sharing’.

Poland says it has asked to have US nuclear weapons based on its territory, amid growing fears that Vladimir Putin could resort to using nuclear arms in Ukraine to stave off a rout of his invading army.

The request from the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, is widely seen as symbolic, as moving nuclear warheads closer to Russia would make them more vulnerable and less militarily useful, according to experts. Furthermore, the White House has said it had not received such a request.

“We’re not aware of this issue being raised and would refer you to the government of Poland,” a US official said.

Duda’s announcement appears to be the latest example of nuclear signalling as the US and its allies seek to deter Putin from the first nuclear use in battle since 1945, while preparing potential responses if deterrence fails that would have maximum punitive impact while containing the risk of escalation to all-out nuclear war.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | EUROPE, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

TODAY. Small Nuclear Reactors have only one use – to lead and help the global nuclear weapons juggernaut

Once again, credible sources reiterate that ‘advanced nuclear’ technology – especially Small Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) are:

  • non-existent as a functioning electricity source
  • the most expensive of all energy sources
  • not really small anyway 300MWe (and cunningly designated “medium” – up to 700MWe)
  • serious producers of toxic, virtually eternal, wastes
  • Thorium ones need plutonium or enriched uranium to start the reaction
  • require huge security – safety and proliferation risks
  • Millions of them needed to be effective against climate change,  but none available till long after urgent action is needed.
  • Distract and divert attention, energy and money away from real climate solutions.

So – why on Earth are all the powerful governments and media constantly trumpeting the virtues of Small Nuclear Reactors?

There is only one real reason:

Small Nuclear Reactors are essential for the nuclear weapons industry.

As the Big Nuclear power industry is failing, and cyclotrons now produce medical radioisotopes, there is really no need for the so-called “peaceful” nuclear industry (except for the massive clean-up jobs)

The Small Nuclear Reactor fantasy keeps the whole show, the whole hypocrisy, alive.

Starting with the (dubiously useful) nuclear submarines – the small nuclear reactor dream is already taking shape. But the industry needs a nice, clean-sounding ‘cover’ for its real killer purpose. Hence the foolish frenzy for “Nice Clean, Climate-helping, Waste-eating, Jobs-providing” Small Nuclear Reactors. (go to Google – you will find nothing but a procession of these lies.

October 6, 2022 Posted by | Christina's notes, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors | 6 Comments