Still life with Brioche. Image credit:Wikipedia, Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin,
Remember the whole "Freedom Fries" thing following France's refusal to support the US 2003 military incursion into Iraq? My how time flies. US politicians now cite the French energy policy example with excitement; claiming that nation's high reliance on nuclear power is exemplary. (Inference that support for climate and energy legislation is more likely if nuclear power expansion incentives are included.) It doesn't seem to matter to that France is roughly the size of Texas and that the existing US nuclear fleet already is far larger than what France has or will ever have. Nor, that the French government controls the nuclear power industry (socialized electricity). Think it will matter to US Congressional proponents of government-funded nuclear power that France may be forced to import electrical power this winter due to operating problems and that the newest French power plant design - one that some argue should be used to update the nuclear fleet in both France and the USA - was recently challenged for being overly elaborate, and possibly unsafe?
From France24.com comes this story excerpt:
China and Finland are already building French-designed new generation reactors, and talks are underway to export the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR) model to Britain, India, Abu Dhabi and the United States.I love it when Senators use the "Manhattan Project" simile. With Westinghouse, the big "American" nuclear supplier, long owned by Toshiba, and Areva, the French nuclear company, poised to go after an expanding US market, tax payer subsidies could flow to Japan & France, respectively. What's the big deal?
Alarm bells rang this week, however, when French, British and Finnish regulators called on the French nuclear engineering firm Areva to review the design of the planned plants' safety and control systems.
Meanwhile, French businesses and householders in some regions could face winter power cuts or rationing after labour strikes delayed the refuelling of France's older plants and left almost one third of them off line.
As Lloyd points out in his post "Why Can't We Be More Like France" it would be a very big deal indeed:
According to Joe Romm, to generate the same percentage as France, the US would have to build between 300 and 600 nuclear plants, depending on how you deal with existing plants needing retirement or growth in electricity demand.There is no French Energy Revolution. Move along Marie.
Oh, and Joe calculates that it will cost some four trillion dollars, and would need seven Yucca Mountain sized waste disposal sites. And that there are serious problems in the supply chain. Whether you love or hate nuclear power, there is no way that we can build enough of it fast enough to make much of a difference.
More posts on French nuclear power.
Debunking The French - US Nuclear Power Comparison
Climate Stage Right: Enter The French Nuclear Empire
France To Complete European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR) By ...
Nuclear Espionage: French Spies Vs. Greenpeace
France Recolonizing Northern Canada For Uranium