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Nuclear power – a ‘religion’ in France. now turning out to be a curse.

 Paris dims the lights as blackouts threaten disaster for Macron. Years of
underinvestment in its aging nuclear fleet risk causing chaos in France
this winter. Xavier Barbaro, chief executive of France’s leading
independent renewables producer Neoen, is concerned about the growing risk
of shortages.

“It’s a possibility and no one would have thought that a
few years or even a few months ago,” he says. “Blackouts were something in
the past. and it can happen again. “We have heard literally for decades
that having nuclear was a chance for the country and in the end, it might
actually be a curse.”

France put all of its eggs in the nuclear basket,
but technical problems are now frequently cutting capacity at its aging
plants. While President Emmanuel Macron has ordered new reactors as part of
a nuclear “renaissance”, decades of inaction are coming back to haunt
the country. Like Liz Truss, Macron’s government has staked its
reputation on his country avoiding blackouts that would undoubtedly have
severe political consequences this winter.

However, industry bosses are
less certain than the President. “We’ve been told for ages that nuclear
power is safe, secure and so constant,” says Adrien Jeantet, director of
energy services at Enercoop, a French utility company using only renewable
energy.

“Now we see that it’s not dependable. We really need it now that
we have gas shortages and all of a sudden it’s not there. Half of the
reactors are shut down.” Barbara Pompili, Macron’s minister in charge
of the energy transition for two years, says nuclear power is almost like a
religion in France.

However, she adds that a widespread belief in its
“magic” has caused underinvestment in renewables that will be needed
for the future. “What I’m worried about is the strategic thinking in the
long run,” she says. “Maybe we were too confident on nuclear power and
we underestimated the importance of renewables. The reason is that too many
people considered that investing in renewables was bad for nuclear power.
“It’s totally crazy. We lost so much time thinking in this way… it’s
very difficult to have a serious rational debate in France on the energy
issue.”

 Telegraph 24th Oct 2022

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/10/24/paris-dims-lights-blackouts-threaten-disaster-macron/

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October 26, 2022 - Posted by | ENERGY, France

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