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France goes back to its restrictive nuclear compensation law affecting Polynesian nuclear test survivors

French legislature resets tighter nuclear compensation law,    The French legislature has again tightened the law for those seeking compensation for ill health because of the nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia.

The new law reintroduces the need for every claimant to prove a minimum exposure to radiation for a compensation claim to be accepted.

It was approved by a joint commission of the National Assembly and the Senate which met after last week’s rejection of the text in the Senate.

The National Assembly had earlier voted for the law, and in a first reading, the Senate had initially also approved it but then acceded to amendments.

The French Polynesian members of the legislature have not been in Paris since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and couldn’t take part in the discussion of the proposed law.

The compensation law clause defining the minimum exposure had been removed in 2017 because almost all compensation claims kept being rejected.

However, in 2018 the government changed its mind and reintroduced the restrictions as part of a finance act to complement a health act.

This was challenged and in February, the supreme court ruled that compensation claims lodged before the 2018 law change were not subject to the new terms.

With the new law, however, all outstanding claims have to meet the same requirements.

Between 1966 to 1996, France carried out 193 nuclear weapons tests in French Polynesia and until a decade ago, France claimed its tests were clean caused no harm to humans.

The test sites of Moruroa and Fangataufa remain excised from French Polynesia and are French no-go zones.

June 4, 2020 Posted by | France, Legal, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

EDF terminates nuclear electricity supply contracts,

EDF terminates nuclear electricity supply contracts, WNN ,03 June 2020 French utility EDF has notified three energy suppliers – Alpiq, Gazel Energie and Total Direct Energie – of the termination of their contracts under a mechanism that allows rival suppliers to buy electricity produced by EDF’s nuclear power plants. The suppliers had sought to invoke the force majeure clause in their supply contracts with EDF…….

EDF announced today that it had terminated the ARENH contracts it has with Alpiq, Gazel and Total Direct Energie, as provided for in the contracts when an interruption occurs for a period of over two months.

“The COVID-19 health crisis and the emergency measures introduced by public authorities on 17 March 2020 led to a decline in electricity consumption by non-residential clients, impacting all market players, including EDF,” the company said. “Faced with this decline in electricity consumption, some suppliers decided to revoke their contractual commitments citing force majeure to reduce the volumes bought last November as part of the ARENH contract.”……

June 4, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Exhumed AREVA – now “Framatome” acquires BWX Technologies’ US nuclear services business

Framatome acquires BWX Technologies’ US nuclear services business 3 June 2020   3 June 2020   Framatome has completed its acquisition of BWX Technologies’  US commercial nuclear services business. With this transaction, Framatome expands its portfolio of equipment and tooling for nuclear power plant inspections and maintenance, a statement said. …..

June 4, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, USA | Leave a comment

Resistance developing to EDF’s plan to store nuclear waste at Belleville-sur-Loire

Nuclear: EDF plans Belleville-sur-Loire to store nuclear waste, resistance is getting organized   EDF has not yet chosen the site that will host the project for a national radioactive waste storage center, but the Belleville-sur-Loire plant is expected. The project will be formalized before the end of 2020. The mobilization is organized.

n 2018, the Reporterre information site revealed that EDF plans to create a radioactive waste storage pool in Belleville-sur-Loire (Cher) to relay the center of La Hague which will soon reach saturation. The affair had then aroused the hostile reaction of the regional council whose president François Bonneau (PS) declared: “the Center-Loire Valley does not have vocation to become the nuclear dustbin of France! ”

Since then, EDF has not said more about its intentions, since transparency is not the main quality of the nuclear industries. But we know that the project to create this new site is a priority, according to the Nuclear Safety Authority. The principle and (important) dimensions of the project have been established. It only remains to choose the most suitable place and for that Belleville has several advantages.

Geographically, the Cher is located in the center of France and several major roads are connected near Belleville. The site also has large land reserves allowing the construction of other nuclear installations since only two reactors out of four possible have been built there. It could therefore easily welcome this vast project which, according to Sortir du nuclear, plans to store 10,000 tonnes of used fuel, including MOX, a highly radioactive product in which uranium and plutonium mix. This pool would be installed on the banks of the Loire for about a century before its hypothetical and distant dismantling.

La région s’oppose à un éventuel projet de stockage des déchets nucléaires

The inhabitants of the Center-Loire Valley usually accept everything The region also presents a political interest for the State and EDF. Its nuclear opponents are usually not very virulent. This is why four plants were installed there when the Bretons, after accepting Brennilis, led the fight with granite stones against the ultimately abandoned Plogoff project.

To change this image, a collective of 15 associations in the Belleville area (Loiret, Cher, Nièvre and Yonne) were formed in late March in the hope of embodying local resistance if the site was chosen. There are resolutely anti-nuclear movements like “Sortir du nuclear” but also environmental defense associations like “Vivre notre Loire”, ADENY or ATTAC. Grouped under the name “Stop Nuclear Pool” the movement is coordinated by activist Catherine Fumé:

“We want to inform local people, especially elected officials who will soon take office, and start creating a balance of power before it is too late. It should be noted that EDF is making the most dangerous choice by centralizing all waste. There are other possibilities such as dry storage in other countries. But for that, France would have to give up producing MOX, this extremely dangerous fuel that must be stored for at least 50 years before final storage, as it is radioactive. ”

Activists are concerned about this choice, which poses a threat to the environment for an indefinite period while the Loire Valley is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the vineyards of Sancerre and Pouilly are not far away. “We know the financial difficulties of EDF today,” continues Catherine Fumé. With this huge deficit will they have the means to maintain these facilities? Will they still exist in a century? ”

Piscine Nucléaire Stop is asking these questions today when EDF has not yet answered the ones we want to ask it on the subject. But we’ll know more about its intentions in a few months.

June 1, 2020 Posted by | France, opposition to nuclear, wastes | Leave a comment

Britain, France, Germany not happy that USA will end waivers for Iran civilian nuclear projects 

Britain, France, Germany Regret US Decision to End Waivers for Iran Civilian Nuclear Projects   By VOA News May 30, 2020
“We deeply regret the decision by the United States to end the three exemptions for key nuclear projects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including the Arak reactor modernization project,” the statement said.

“These projects, including the Arak reactor modernization project, endorsed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231, have served the non-proliferation interests of all and provide the international community with assurances of the exclusively peaceful and safe nature of Iranian nuclear activities,” the three counties said.

Wednesday the United States announced the end of the waivers, which had allowed the continuation of projects related to Iran’s civil nuclear program, even though the Trump administration abandoned the 2015 international plan of action in 2018.

Under the waivers Russian, Chinese and European companies worked on the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor to civilian purposes and on the transfer of nuclear fuel abroad.

June 1, 2020 Posted by | France, Germany, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Bankrupt French company AREVA, now resuscitated as Framatome to engineer UK’s nuclear fleet

Framatome to provide engineering services to UK nuclear fleet, 29 May 2020      French company Framatome has signed a framework agreement with EDF in the UK to provide engineering services to support ongoing nuclear power plant operations……  EDF in the UK operates a fleet of eight nuclear power stations: Sizewell B, Hinkley Point B, Dungeness B, Hartlepool, Heysham 1 and 2, Hunterston, and Torness.

May 30, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Safety lapses at France’s nuclear reactors, newv delays at EDF’s Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor 

Regulator unaware of fresh delays at EDF’s Flamanville 3 nuclear reactor  PARIS, May 28 (Reuters) – French nuclear regulator ASN said on Thursday it was not aware of fresh delays in the construction of EDF’s Flamanville 3 EPR nuclear reactor, despite the coronavirus outbreak disrupting works.

State-controlled utility EDF, which operates France’s 57 nuclear reactors, had previously said that the pandemic had slowed construction work at the reactor in the north of France, but it did not say if it would lead to further delays.

The project is running more than a decade behind schedule and it is now expected to start around 2023 after the regulator demanded EDF repair defective welds.

ASN’s head Bernard Doroszczuk, told a French Senate hearing on Thursday that some hundreds of welds, and eight other difficult-to-reach enclosure crossing welds, are still expected to be redone before the reactor is commissioned.

Repairs have started on the most accessible welds but not on the enclosure crossing welds which require a fine-tuning process, the first stages of which are underway in the United States, with an American supplier, he said.

Overall, the process of repairing, refurbishing or checking the reactor seems to be going smoothly compared to the schedule that was announced, but obviously I can’t predict what will happen next,” Doroszczuk said.

He said safety levels at French nuclear facilities remained “acceptable” but operational rigor at EDF’s nuclear power plants declined in 2019, citing several safety lapses.

Doroszczuk said that due to capacity issues at EDF, ASN would likely modify a plan to extend the lifespan of EDF’s 900 megawatt reactors. The watchdog is expected to make a generic ruling on the extension of the lifespan of 32 reactors by the end of the year. (Reporting by Benjamin Mallet Writing by Forrest Crellin Editing by Bate Felix, Kirsten Donovan)

May 30, 2020 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

Court set-back to France’s EDF nuclear supply contracts

May 27, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, Legal | Leave a comment

Coronavirus affecting France’s nuclear reactors’ safety and output

Montel News 14th May 2020, The overhaul of the schedule for shutdowns of EDF nuclear reactors during the Covid-19 pandemic will “considerably” reduce the safety margins of French power plants and will probably lead to further delays, experts told Montel. The nuclear agency is now under “potentially devastating pressure,” said Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant based in Paris and a critic of the nuclear industry.
The impact of the coronavirus adds to the equipment and maintenance problems that have accumulated in recent years and forced the company to reduce its nuclear production. “This is one
problem that overlaps with another. This is what is so worrisome, the accumulation of difficult events and circumstances, “he said.
Monday, EDF announced the postponement of 30 outages planned until 2022, explaining
that it postponed maintenance to secure the electricity supply for the winter. Already last week, the company had extended shutdowns of more than 40 reactors.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | France, safety | Leave a comment

French government tries to downgrade radiation risk, avoid compensating Polynesian victims of nuclear testing

Outrage in Tahiti over French nuclear law moves,  There has been an outcry in French Polynesia over moves by the French National Assembly to slip a clause about compensation over nuclear weapons testing into Covid-19 legislation.

A French Polynesian member of the French Assembly Moetai Brotherson said it was a scandal that this was added into deliberations when French Polynesia’s members were away from Paris because of the pandemic.

The nuclear test veterans organisations, Moruroa e tatou and Association 193, also expressed outrage.

The French government wants to re-introduce the concept of neglible risk of the tests in compensation cases after a court ruling had done away with it.

Over a 30-year period of France’s weapons tests in the South Pacific some of the atmospheric blasts irradiated most islands.

Mr Brotherson said he had only just heard about the National Assembly move and wondered what the French Polynesian people had ever done to be so detested by the French state.

Hiro Tefaarere of Moruroa e tatou said he was outraged but not surprised about the way France was going about it.

He said all presidents, from de Gaulle to Macron, couldn’t care less about Polynesians, and although France was responsible for public health in Tahiti it failed to keep a register to see how many people died because of fallout from the weapons tests.

Auguste Uebe Carlson, who heads Association 193, said France kept refusing to recognise the impact of the tests, using instead propaganda to say they were clean or a thing of the past.

He said nothing was recognised, with health problems now being attributed to poor diet and life-style choices.

ast year, French Polynesia’s social security agency calculated that it had so far spent $US770 million on health care costs for people deemed to have radiation-induced illnesses.

May 18, 2020 Posted by | France, OCEANIA, politics, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s Strategic Nuclear Forces

May 11, 2020 Posted by | France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Big drop in France’s nuclear power generation.

French nuclear power generation fell 15.5% year-on-year in April PARIS, May 6 (Reuters) – French nuclear power generation fell 15.5% year-on-year in April to 26.9 terawatt hours (TWh) due to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on electricity demand, utility EDF said on Wednesday.State-controlled EDF, which operates France’s 57 nuclear reactors, said cumulative nuclear power generation since the start of the year added up to 128.1 TWh, down 10.7% compared with the same period last year.

The fall in output is “due to a drop in demand and prolonged (nuclear reactor) outages linked in particular to the health crisis,” EDF said.

Electricity consumption has plunged across Europe due to shutdown measures ordered by governments to halt the spread of the virus.

EDF has said it expects its nuclear power output in France this year to fall to a record low of around 300 TWh, from an initial expectation of 375 to 390 TWh before the outbreak.

The utility added that its nuclear generation in Britain fell 18.7% year-on-year in April to 3.7 TWh, while total output since January was at 15.6 TWh, down 5.3% compared with the same period in 2019.

EDF’s subsidiary in Britain, EDF Energy has been asked to temporarily reduce output at its Sizewell B nuclear plant in the east of England to help balance the grid and prevent blackouts, due to the fall in energy demand, EDF and grid operator National Grid said separately on Wednesday. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by GV De Clercq and Elaine Hardcastle)  AT TOP

May 7, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment

France’s unfairly heavy monitoring of anti-nuclear activists, treating them as violent criminals

Justice has massively monitored Bure’s anti-nuclear activists Reporterre,  April 27, 2020 / Marie Barbier (Reporterre) and Jade Lindgaard. Dozens of people tapped, a thousand retranscribed discussions, more than 85,000 conversations and intercepted messages, more than 16 years of cumulative telephone surveillance time: the judicial information opened in July 2017 is a disproportionate machine of intelligence on the movement antinuclear from this village of the Meuse, according to the documents consulted by Reporterre and Mediapart.

Faces caught in a web of arrows and diagrams. Under each photo: date and place of birth, nickname, organization. The individuals are grouped into “clans”, linked to places and ratings of the investigation file. Some faces are magnified, others reduced to the size of a pinhead. Some people are entitled to a photo, others appear in the form of a pictogram – blue for men, fuchsia pink for women.

This diagram [on original] was produced by the Anacrim criminal analysis cell of the national gendarmerie. Its software, Analyst’s notebook, makes it possible to visualize the links between people via their telephone numbers, places, events. This technique is usually used to solve particularly serious crimes: it recently emerged from the Gregory of legal darkness case, and is currently used in the investigation of the multi-repeat killer Nordahl Lelandais.

Examining magistrate Kévin le Fur used it to dissect the organization of the opposition movement at Cigeo, the radioactive waste landfill center planned next to the village of Bure, in the Meuse. Scheduled to come into operation in 2035, it is one of the largest industrial facilities in project today in France, and a very sensitive site for the nuclear industry.

The Anacrim diagram appears in the file of the judicial information for association of criminals, where ten antinuclear militants are under investigation for various reasons in connection with degradations committed in a hotel and the organization of an undeclared demonstration in August 2017. Subject to strict judicial control, those under investigation are prohibited from seeing each other, talking to each other and even being in the same room.

In the Bure case, Anacrim produced a total of fourteen diagrams on “the role and involvement” of the accused and the interactions between collectives and associations. This method leaves its mark on education. Seven people, among the ten indicted, are for criminal association, but 118 individuals are listed in the organization chart of the gendarmes placed in the investigation file.

Dozens of people tapped, more than a thousand transcribed discussions, tens of thousands of conversations and intercepted messages, more than fifteen years of cumulative telephone interception time: the judicial information opened in July 2017 looks like a real intelligence machine on the anti-nuclear movement of Bure, according to the investigation file consulted by Reporterre and Mediapart, and of which Liberation had unveiled part of the content in November 2018. An extraordinary investigation, extremely intrusive and focused on the surveillance of political activists whom the justice system seems to consider as enemies of democracy.

What facts triggered the authorization of such a massive data collection? On the morning of June 21, 2017, around thirty people approach the laboratory of the National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management (Andra), responsible for creating the landfill center for radioactive waste, and set up a barrage of tires and flaming boards nearby, between the villages of Bure and Saudron.   Then “five to seven individuals”, according to the investigators, faces hidden, go to Le Bindeuil. This hotel, located in the countryside, opposite the laboratory, is almost exclusively occupied by gendarmes and professionals linked to the landfill project. It is for this reason identified by activists as a milestone in the nuclearization of this territory.  At Le Bindeuil, the small group breaks windows of the establishment, knocks over chairs on the terrace, and enters the building, while customers and staff are sleeping there. Broken glasses and bottles of alcohol. Oil is sprayed near the elevator and the counter, causing two outbreaks of fire.The small group comes out after five minutes. The chef from Le Bindeuil rushes out and puts out the flames. No one is hurt. Of the twelve customers present at the hotel that evening, only three filed a complaint (two of which did not constitute a civil party), despite numerous reminders from investigators.

Molotov cocktails and stones fly. Gendarmes were injured and a protester mutilated by a grenade on the foot. Those charged are for different reasons from each other: participation in a gathering after summons, participation in a criminal association for the preparation of an offense punishable by five or ten years’ imprisonment, detention (or complicity) in an organized gang of incendiary product, damage to the property of others by dangerous means, concealment of property from an aggravated theft, voluntary violence in meetings.

From the first days of the investigation, the gendarmes were worried about “criminal designs” unrelated to the “legitimate challenge in a democratic state” of the militants implicated. “These actions can no longer be considered as a legitimate social and societal protest” or “as a form of democratic opposition”, they write in a report, July 27, 2017. According to them, “some of the opponents deliberately choose a violent path. They attack the property associated with the contested projects, but sometimes also the people working for the development of these industrial installations and at the same time against the police. ” In the eyes of the investigators, “opponents criminalize themselves”.

Part of the seals is sent to the Anti-Terrorism Office, a unit of the gendarmerie responsible for the prevention and suppression of acts of terrorism.   To take the measure of the surveillance of the militants of Bure and their entourage, Reporterre and Mediapart evaluated the means deployed by the gendarmerie and the justice in their mission. Almost 765 telephone numbers have been the subject of identity verification requests from telephone operators. At least 200 other requests were made to find out the call histories, their places of emission, the bank details of the holders subscription, PUK codes to unlock a phone when you don’t know your PIN.

A total of 29 people and places were tapped. Two activists were targeted by these interceptions for 330 days, almost a year. For several others indicted, this lasts almost eight months. The number of the “Legal team”, the legal aid collective for activists, was monitored for four months. The telephone used by the activists taking turns on one of the barricades in Lejuc wood, then partly occupied to prevent the works  preparatory to Cigeo, has been listened to for almost nine months. Several people, who were ultimately not prosecuted, had their conversations intercepted for at least four months and one of them was on several devices. For the association Bure Zone Libre, domiciled at the Maison de la Résistance, the place of collective life and historic meetings of anti-Cigeo, the tapping lasted at least a year. At the request of the investigating judge, letters rogatory bsuccessive techniques to allow always more listening time.

According to Me Raphaël Kempf, one of the lawyers for the indictments: Listening for so long is proof that we are not in a classic criminal judicial procedure intended to collect evidence of the commission of crimes, but that we are using the means of law and criminal procedure  for the purpose of intelligence, which is political in nature. ”

If we add up all these sequences, we get a cumulative time spent listening to activists equivalent to more than sixteen years! According to the minutes, most of these people were listened to permanently by a team of gendarmes taking turns behind their screens. In total, more than 85,000 conversations and messages were intercepted, according to our estimates. And no less than 337 conversations were transcribed on trial-  verbal, to which are added some 800 messages reproduced by the Technical Assistance Center (CTA). Are these means proportionate to the crimes being prosecuted? Joined by Reporterre and Mediapart, Olivier Glady, public prosecutor of Bar-le-Duc answers: “I cannot answer that. This is a dossier that makes fifteen volumes. You have files of other kinds (traffic in vehicles or narcotics) which are roughly equivalent, I am not sure that the proportionality of the investigations is simply to relate to a number as you give it to me. ”

During these innumerable hours spent listening to the militants, the gendarmes tracked the indications, sometimes tiny, of each other’s responsibilities in organizing the protest. These are two cultures which, behind closed doors of a judicial investigation, seem to confront each other from a distance. On the one hand, the gendarmes. On the other, anti-nuclear, libertarian culture, who refuse hierarchy and formal assignments to roles. Inevitably, the vision of gendarmes stumbles on the spontaneous and horizontal practices of regulars at the Maison de la Résistance. This old farm in Bure was bought in 2004 by anti-nuclear activists to create a place of struggle. It has become a place of collective life where people come to sleep during a gathering, get together, work, cook, party…….

April 30, 2020 Posted by | civil liberties, France | Leave a comment

France: The Forgotten Nuclear Power That Could Kill Billions of People

April 26, 2020 Posted by | France, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear company EDF in spiralling debt crisis

April 24, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, France, politics | Leave a comment