Mediapart has gained access to a report by the French government’s environment and energy agency which concludes that France’s electricity supply, of which 75% is currently produced by nuclear power, could be entirely provided by renewable energies in 2050. Furthermore, the study found that a 100% reliance on renewables is not only materially and technologically feasible, but that it would also cost relatively little more than the electricity supply in which nuclear power plays a key part. The study was due to be made public this month, but its publication has now been inexplicably postponed until after the summer, and after key energy strategy decisions are to be taken by the government. In this report by Christophe Gueugneau and Jade Lindgaard, Mediapart presents the study in its entirety and highlights the key findings.
Last month, the French nuclear safety authority published a report in which it recognised that the existence of a leukaemia cluster around the nuclear waste reprocessing plant of La Hague, in Normandy, is "possible". While radioprotection experts in France and abroad have long regarded the dangers of low-level radiation as negligible, the study by the Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) was highly significant especially because it rings an alarm bell for populations close to every type of nuclear plant. Patricia Brett reports.
In a country which gets around 75% of its electricity from nuclear power, and billions of euros from exportation of its civil nuclear technology, the call to dump it could appear akin to science fiction. Yet Négawatt, an association of French environmentalist energy specialists, drew a crowd for its recent presentation of a plan for France to pull out of nuclear energy by 2033 while also halving CO2 emissions by 2030 and converting almost entirely to renewables by 2050. The nuclear industry and two ministries sent emissaries, and the plan now looks set to feature in the 2012 presidential election campaign. Jade Lindgaard reports.
A court hearing in Normandy earlier this month provided a revealing insight into official secrecy over the dangers to which are exposed many of the 125,000 people employed in the nuclear industry in France, one of the world's leading operators and exporters of civil nuclear power technology. It centres on the case of a welder exposed to nuclear contamination at a local power plant, but whose employer refuses, like others in the industry, to consider the incident as a workplace accident. Mediapart has obtained exclusive access to an internal document from French utilities giant EDF instructing nuclear power plant directors when not to declare incidents of on-site irradiation and contamination. Jade Lindgaard reports.