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A quiet French village has become a centre of anti-nuclear protest

Quiet no more, French village becomes centre of anti-nuclear protest,, Gilbert ReilhacLucien Libert BURE, France (Reuters) 19 Apr 18  – The 82 residents of the French village of Bure lived a quiet life until the government began testing the feasibility of storing nuclear waste there. Now Bure is rocked by protests as a final decision on the project looms.

For the past 20 years, French nuclear waste agency Andra has tested the stability of the clay of the northeastern village to see if it could hold radioactive waste for hundreds of thousands of years.

Andra is preparing a formal request for next year to build the 25 billion euro ($31 billion) facility to hold waste from the reactors of state-owned utility EDF.

French nuclear regulator ASN has already said the plan is sound and deep geological storage is the safest way to protect future generations from radioactive waste.

But a police van at the main square is testimony to rising tensions and demonstrations that have at times blocked the area where Andra wants to dig.

“Life will become unbearable here with the nuclear waste and all the demonstrators,” said Bure mayor Gerard Antoine, who breeds beef cattle.

Antoine approved the installation of Andra research facilities two decades ago but said he now regrets that decision and would say no if he were asked today.

Hundreds of demonstrators who built a camp nearby were kicked out by police in February but say they are there for the long run and will fight the project until the government changes its plans.

“We are heading straight for … a nuclear disaster, that’s why we’re against it,” said Jean-Marc Fleury, a local elected official with an environmentalist party.

Police are maintaining a heavy presence while protesters have regrouped in and around a house in the Bure village centre.

The future Cigeo site is designed to cover an area of 600 hectares and have 250 kilometres of underground galleries where nuclear waste would be buried in huge rust-proof cylinders.


Andra, which carried out research work via a research laboratory 500 metres underground, wants to start work on the site in 2022 and complete it by 2030.

“We’re not going to do deep burial of (nuclear) waste if we had any doubt that it would leak or contaminate the environment,” said Andra spokesman Mathieu Saint Louis.

“The ultimate goal with an underground installation such as this one is precisely to protect ourselves from the danger of (nuclear) waste.”

For now, spent fuel from French nuclear reactors is stored in pools next to the reactors before it is shipped to state-owned nuclear fuel group Orano’s recycling plant in La Hague, western France.

But La Hague is not designed for long-term storage and France does not have a solution 40 years after investing heavily in nuclear energy. Other countries that use nuclear power face the same problem.

The Bure site is designed so that nuclear waste could be retrieved for the first 100 years if scientists find a better solution than burying it. Otherwise, the underground galleries will be permanently sealed with concrete.

Anti-nuclear activists say deep geological storage does not offer perfect guarantees against radiation leakage in ground water. They want the waste moved to underground facilities that are just a few metres deep, to monitor it better.  Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Ingrid Melander and Matthew Mpoke Bigg


April 20, 2018 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

France’s EDF faces handicap to exporting nuclear reactors, with flaws found in European Pressurized Reactors (EPRs)

France’s nuclear plans under pressure, Petroleum Economist, 17 Apr 18

Flaws found at a flagship reactor could curb EDF’s technology export ambitions

Piping weld issues reported at Électricité de France’s Flamanville nuclear reactor project last week threaten to delay similar reactor builds across Finland and the UK, eroding confidence in the technology’s future role in western Europe’s energy mix.

State-owned EDF admitted on 10 April that inspectors had found “quality deviations” on 150 welds in a system used to transport steam to turbines at the Flamanville European Pressurized Reactor (EPR), a third generation pressurised water reactor in northwestern France.

Those inspections were prompted by an initial finding in February that 38 of 66 weldings on a secondary cooling circuit were not in line with standards, which were passed on at the time to France’s Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN).

Because the ASN has already demanded that a study be completed into the initial problems by the second half of 2018, it’s likely the new discovery will exacerbate problems with the long-delayed plant’s timetable and costs—it is seven years behind schedule and €7bn ($8.6bn) over budget.

The impact of the substandard weldings will also likely be felt further afield, particularly on timings for other long-delayed EPRs that the firm is currently building: Hinkley Point C in the UK, and Olkiluoto 3 in Finland.

Construction of the first EPR in Olkiluoto started in 2005 and was initially set to be completed by 2009, but in October 2017, the project was again delayed to May 2019, when it is intended to become western Europe’s first new nuclear power station for 15 years. Meanwhile, construction is slated to start on the 3.2-gigawatt Hinkley Point C plant in Somerset, southwest England, in 2019. The plant was first proposed in 2008 and is expected to take at least a decade to bring online, at a cost of £20.3bn ($28bn).

“Repeated construction delays further undermine the credibility of nuclear power as a viable option for electricity generation in the context of urgency to combat climate change”, Mycle Schneider, lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, told Petroleum Economist. “Nuclear power turns out to be not only increasingly expensive, but far too slow to compete with other options.”

Fukushima in focus

Despite the delays, the need to ensure strict standards in a post-Fukushima environment was underlined by an incident last December at China’s Taishan1 reactor, which was constructed by China General Nuclear Power Corporation (GCN) with EDF. Taishan1’s deaerator, which removes oxygen and other gases from boiler feedwater circuits, cracked during performance testing due to defective welding.

Safety issues have loomed over nuclear power’s future in western Europe since the Fukushima accident in Japan in March 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake triggered a 46-foot tsunami that hit the plant, leading to the leakage of radioactive materials and shutdown of the plant. ……..

On 31 March, the Belgian government confirmed that its future energy strategy included a plan to shut down all nuclear power plants by 2025, and Germany, Spain and Switzerland have also made plans to phase out nuclear power by the 2020s. Even President Emmanuel Macron’s French election campaign included a promise to cut nuclear power generation from 72% to 50%.

“In a strict commercial sense, nuclear power is a tough proposition in western Europe. Unlike emerging economies and regions, demand is flat in the continent,” said Jane Nakano, a senior energy analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “In mature markets it is tough to make a business case for massive projects that require huge upfront investment.” …….

April 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

EDF’s “suicidal” business strategy of prolonging nuclear power, despite EDF’s heavy debts

Alternatives Economiques 12th April 2018 , [Machine Translation]

EDF has just presented its long-term energy strategy
to the board of directors. While the cost of solar and wind energy is
falling every year – it is already half the price of new nuclear power –
Belgium confirms its exit from  that it does not intend to close a
nuclear reactor, except those in Fessenhenuclear power in 2025 and that Portugal has covered in March more than 100% of its electricity needs by renewables ources, EDF defies its main shareholder, the State, and stubbornly in the nuclear everything.

The group confirms , before 2029, jeopardizing its
profitability and viability with surplus electricity that will drive down
sales prices for producers. The programs of control of the energy demand
and the development of renewable energies will lead to a mechanical
reduction of the share of the nuclear energy in the French energy mix”.

Faced with the risk of the “cliff effect”, with the end of life at the same
time many nuclear reactors built at the same time, But EDF does not hear it
that way. In financial difficulties with debt that has almost tripled in
ten years, gross operating surplus to the lowest since 2006 and a wall of
investment coming nearly 160 billion over ten years 1 , the company s
‘Heading into a suicidal strategy: prolonging nuclear reactors as much as
possible. There is no outlet for this generation of electricity while
consumption has been decreasing in France for several years and renewables
are developing? EDF invents the myth of massive exports to neighboring

April 16, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

US, British and French forces launch air strikes on chemical weapons sites in Syria

Syria: US, British and French forces launch air strikes in response to chemical weapons attack, 

US, British and French forces have pounded chemical weapons sites in Syria with air strikes in response to an alleged poison gas attack that killed dozens in the rebel-held town of Douma last week.

Key points:

  • US, UK and France hit three chemical weapons sites in Syria
  • US Defence Secretary says strikes were a “one-time shot”
  • Strikes biggest intervention yet by Western powers against Assad regime

In a televised address to the nation, US President Donald Trump said the three nations had “marshalled their righteous power against barbarism and brutality”.

The strikes were the biggest intervention by Western powers against President Bashar al-Assad in the country’s seven-year-old civil war, which has pitted the US and its allies against Russia.

The Pentagon said the strikes targeted a research centre in Damascus, along with a chemical weapons storage facility and command post west of Homs……

British Prime Minister Theresa May said the strikes were not about intervening in a civil war nor were they about a regime change.

“We cannot allow the use of chemical weapons to become normalised within Syria, on the streets of the UK or anywhere else in our world,” Ms May said…….

Russia’s Defence Ministry said the majority of missiles fired during the attack were intercepted by Syrian air defence systems using Soviet-produced hardware, including the Buk missile system.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | France, politics international, Russia, Syria, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear regulator finds “a lack of surveillance” in the defective welding in EPR nuclear reactors

Le Monde 12th April 2018 , [Machine Translation] EPR Flamanville: the Nuclear Safety Authority
criticizes “a lack of surveillance” ASN President Pierre-Franck Chevet
describes the new anomalies discovered on third-generation reactor welds as
The President of the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN),
Pierre-Franck Chevet, came back in harsh terms, Thursday, April 12 in the
Senate, on new weld defects unearthed Tuesday on the EPR Flamanville
(Channel). An anomaly that he considered “serious” before the Parliamentary
Office for evaluating scientific and technological choices, to which he
presented the annual report on the state of nuclear safety and radiation
protection in France .
He had already used the same qualifier in February,
about first “deviations” detected in the realization of certain welds
piping connecting the steam generators (four in the EPR) to the turbine.
Thirty-eight welds were involved. But, at that time, EDF was assured, these
were deviations from a “high quality” standard , more demanding than the
standard standards applied to nuclear pressure equipment, so that,
according to the electrician, these circuits remained ” able to carry out
their mission safely . “
The problem is actually more extensive than EDF
then heard . At the end of March, the company discovered, during the
“initial complete visit” prior to the commissioning of the third-generation
reactor, new “quality deviations” . And this time, not in relation to
increased safety requirements, but compared to the normal regulations for
this type of equipment.

April 14, 2018 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

EDF warns of delays to Flamanville nuclear plant – it doesn’t augur well for Hinkley nuclear

EDF warns of delays at Flamanville nuclear power station in France
Experts fear UK’s planned Hinkley plant will face similar budget and deadline problems,
Guardian,  Adam Vaughan, 10 Apr 18, EDF Energy has warned that a flagship nuclear power station it is building in France could run further behind schedule and over budget, after it detected faults at the €10.5bn ( £9.2bn) plant.

The French state-owned firm said inspections last month had uncovered problems with welding on pipes at the Flamanville plant in north-west France.

Flamanville’s reactor design is the same as the one being used at a delayed plant in Finland and at Hinkley Point in Somerset, where EDF is building the UK’s first new nuclear power station in decades.

The company said that it had discovered “quality deviations” on 150 welds in a system used to transport steam to turbines used for electricity generation.

EDF said it was performing further checks to see what works would be needed to satisfy the safety requirements of the French nuclear regulator, ASN, and would report back in May.

In a statement, the firm said: “Following the current checks and the licensing process by the ASN, EDF will be able to specify whether the project requires an adjustment to its timetable and its costs.”

The plant is already three times over its original estimates and several years late.

Nuclear industry experts said the announcement cast doubt over whether Flamanville unit three would be operational by the end of 2019, as planned………..

April 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, UK | Leave a comment

No wonder that nuclear company AREVA changed its name (to ORANO): former director indicted for corruption.

Le Monde 7th April 2018, Acquisition of Uramin: the former director of the Areva mines indicted for  “corruption” The former director of the Areva mines has been indicted in Paris for “corruption” in the investigation of the acquisition of the mining company Uramin in 2007.

Areva, now Orano, had paid 1.8 billion euros to acquire the Canadian Uramin, but the exploitation of the three deposits
of the company in Namibia , South Africa and Central Africa had proved much more difficult than expected. The operation had turned into a financial chasm and had forced Areva, at the end of 2011, to provision 1.5 billion euros.

April 9, 2018 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Resurrected nuclear company Orano (formerly Areva) – still losing money

Nasdaq 29th March 2018, French uranium mining and nuclear fuel group Orano, formerly called Areva, said its 2017 revenue fell 11 percent to 3.9 billion euros ($4.80 billion) and core earnings fell 30 percent to 946 million euros as demand for nuclear fuel remains low.

Orano’s order book, while still representing nearly eight years of revenue, fell to 30.8 billion euros at the end of 2017 from 33.6 billion euros at the end of 2016 and the company expects revenue will fall again this year. The company continued to burn cash, with a negative cash flow of 1.06 billion euros compared to minus 915 million euros in 2016, but Orano said it targets positive net cash flow from company operations this year.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

France’s EDF to spend 8 billion euros ($9.8 billion) by 2035 on energy storage

Utility Dive 29th March 2018. French national utility EDF says it plans to spend 8 billion euros ($9.8
billion) by 2035 in a move to become “the European leader” in energy
storage. EDF’s goal is to develop 10 GW of storage around the world by that
same timeframe. The company already operates 5 GW of storage facilities. In
particular, EDF is targeting the residential sector in France and Europe
with a variety of self-consumption services that use batteries, as well as
Africa where the utility company hopes to develop a portfolio of 1.2
million off-grid customers by 2035 through local partnerships.

April 4, 2018 Posted by | energy storage, France | Leave a comment

France’s govt sets cost of Bure underground nuclear waste burial at 25 billion euros (about double that is likely)

France Info 26th March 2018, [Machine Translation] Nuclear: Bure, a colossal project at phenomenal cost.
Burying waste nuclear power plants 500 meters underground in Bure (Meuse) is a pharaonic site that will last a hundred years. EDF, which has to paythe bill, estimates the cost at 20 billion euros.

For Andra, the agency that will build the storage, the cost would be 34 billion euros. ” The Agency has an interest in the fact that the costing includes the safest security options possible while EDF has an interest in the fact that this storage costs the least possible, ” says Yves Marignac, independent expert
Wise Paris.

The government has decided: it will be 25 billion euros. “The cost is likely to be at least twice as high, and it is probably the only country where the government sets the future cost of such a huge and uncertain project by decree,” he said. ‘expert.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | France, wastes | Leave a comment

AREVA – failed company exhumed – now called “ORANO” and STILL losing money


Romandie 29th March 2018, Orano, a company resulting from the restructuring of giant Areva and refocused on the nuclear fuel cycle, has slightly widened its loss during
the year 2017, she said Thursday, in a context of nuclear market that remains difficult. The group’s net loss widened 4.5% to 252 million euros
compared to last year, according to a statement. EBITDA was down 29.3% to 946 million euros, mainly due to the impact of reduced volumes sold. Sales
reached € 3.9 billion, down 10.8%. These results, “in line with expectations” according to the text.

March 28, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

France to make a huge investment in energy storage

French Nuclear Giant Gambles Big On Energy Storage , Forbes, William Pentland  

Forbes, Electricite de France said today that it plans to invest a whopping $9.93 billion in electricity storage by 2035.

“Electricity-storage technologies have a potential to radically change the energy sector,” said Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy.

The French utility company said on Tuesday that the planned investment would be used to develop an estimated 10 gigawatts of additional energy storage projects, or roughly twice the total amount of capacity it currently operates.

The utility said it would target energy storage projects in the European market, especially in France, but that it would also pursue opportunities in Africa, including battery storage and storage plus solar projects in Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

Over the next two years, EDF said it would use roughly one third of its investment in energy storage to acquiring projects and start-up companies focused on energy storage projects and grid applications. A portion of the investment – about $87 million – will also be used to support research and development activities in the energy storage space. ……


March 28, 2018 Posted by | energy storage, France | Leave a comment

“Fukushima Pride” – publicity event to promote Fukushima food in Paris

Fukushima food promoted in Paris  The governor of Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture is in Paris to promote farm products that are suffering from a damaged reputation following the 2011 nuclear accident.

Masao Uchibori is visiting Europe following the 7th anniversary of the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Uchibori organized the “Fukushima Pride” tasting event on Saturday at a shopping mall near Paris. Rice and fruit products were handed out to shoppers.

One visitor said she likes the dried peaches a lot and is not concerned about the safety of Fukushima produce now that it is widely circulated.

France has seen Japanese cuisine surge in popularity, which is pushing up the import of luxury foodstuffs and sake rice wine.

Uchibori expressed hope that France will help Fukushima overcome lingering concerns about the safety of its food and make inroads into the global market.

The Japanese government has been calling on other countries to lift import restrictions on its food products, after they cleared radiation screening.

In December, the European Union lifted import controls on some produce and seafood from regions affected by the nuclear accident.

March 25, 2018 Posted by | France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Theft of confidential information about Cattenom, Flamanville and Paluel nuclear power plants

France Info 21st March 2018, [Machine Translation] Sensitive information concerning the Cattenom,
Flamanville and Paluel nuclear power plants was stolen a few weeks ago in
Amnéville (Moselle). The facts go back to February 16th. On a parking lot
in Amnéville, Moselle, an employee of an EDF subcontractor had his
professional vehicle fractured. The thieves stole computer equipment
containing confidential information about the nuclear power plants Cattenom
(Moselle), Flamanville (Channel) and Paluel (Seine-Maritime).

March 23, 2018 Posted by | France, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

India has not signed Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Macron keen to sell EPR reactors to India anyway

Energy Watch Group 20th March 2018, During his state visit to India, France’s President Macron agreed with
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week to sell six French EPR
reactors for the largest nuclear power plant planned in Jaitapur.

Regardless of the fact that India has not yet signed the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty. The plutonium from the reactors could be
completely used for the construction of nuclear weapons without
international control. In terms of energy, too, all EPR construction
projects in recent years are highly problematic.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | France, India, marketing | Leave a comment