Climate Stage Right: Enter The French Nuclear Empire


France's nuclear power industry has a really big sales territory and a head start on US industries. The action starts with a dozen "next generation" nuclear stations proposed for South Africa, and accelerates toward 300 new nuclear generation plants being proposed, globally, inside 22 years. 300 new nuclear stations. Wonder who'll take the carbon credits?

blockquote%20copy.gifFrench nuclear giant Areva said on Thursday it was ready to build up to 12 next-generation power plants in South Africa, where massive electricity shortages shut down the key mining industry this month.

blockquote%20copy.gifAreva said that in addition to an earlier plan to build two nuclear power plants in South Africa, announced earlier this month, it would now offer 10 more of its third generation systems through to 2025.

That's just the start.blockquote%20copy.gifSales at the group's reactors and services business rose by 33 percent in the fourth quarter to ?904 million (US$1.34 billion). Areva has said it plans to build between 100 and 300 nuclear reactors by 2030.

blockquote%20copy.gifAreva's business of turning uranium ore into nuclear fuel also showed a strong performance, posting 35-percent growth in fourth-quarter sales to 1.12 billion ($1.66 billion), on the back of higher uranium prices.

Meanwhile, back at the African uranium mines, all is not well.

blockquote%20copy.gif'We are going to attack the uranium mines, including those of Areva, to stop factories functioning, prevent the exploitation of new quarries, and seize the cargo that is en route to the sea,' MNJ leader Rhissa Ag Boula said.

blockquote%20copy.gif'You can't exploit uranium without us,' he added.

blockquote%20copy.gifNiger, on the edge of the Sahara, is the world's third largest producer of uranium whose price has soared recently, while Areva is the company's top private employer and has operated two mines there for the past 40 years.

blockquote%20copy.gifThe stakes are particularly high for former colonial power France: three-quarters of the nuclear-powered electricity produced by its state-run company EDF uses uranium imported from Niger.

This French company seemingly does not need to pull the climate change lever to promote its business. But, with the cited unease in yellow-cake land, nuclear ambition, too, seems vulnerable to reliance on unstable places for fuel. Something not often discussed by proponents of "going nuclear" to solve the climate crisis.

Via::Yahoo News, AFP, "Areva says it is ready to build 12 reactors in South Africa" AND TMC Net, French nuclear manufacturer Areva reports higher than expected Q4 sales AND HEMSCOTT, "Areva is 'nobody's enemy' in Niger after Tuareg rebel threats" Image credit::Yahoo News, "The Koeberg nuclear power station in Cape Town, South Africa"

Tags: France | Nuclear Power | South Africa


treehugger slideshows