Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Google Was Making A Space Elevator And A Hoverboard, But Couldn't Get Them To Work

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A bitter pill to swallow

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Investors take fright over Google results

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism (part 2)

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘This election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Frantic search for survivors of sunken South Korea ferry

    Read more

  • Pro-Russian separatists killed in attack on Black Sea base

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for 2002 triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies at 92

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in DR Congo

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine to begin in Geneva

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

France

Is France set to backtrack on its nuclear promises?

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2012-08-28

France’s minister for industrial renewal said Sunday that nuclear energy is "an industry of the future" sparking discord with the government’s Green allies. The statement comes despite François Hollande’s pre-election pledge to cut nuclear energy.

Nuclear energy is a French "industry of the future”, the country’s minister for industrial renewal said on Sunday in a comment that has upset environmentalists in coalition with the government.

“We need energy that is not too expensive,” Arnaud Montebourg told BFM TV. “France's existing nuclear infrastructure is a huge asset, giving us cheap and affordable electricity.
“It is a strategically important asset and we will continue investing in France’s nuclear future.”

France, which has 59 nuclear reactors, is the world’s biggest consumer of atomic energy, which accounts for more than 75% of all electricity produced in the country. (The USA actually produces more, but it accounts for less than 20% of total consumption).

The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan brought France’s reliance on nuclear power into sharp focus and led to a broad investigation into the safety of the country’s plants.

For France’s environmentalists, who were eyeing positions in government for the first time in a decade, the catastrophe in Japan was an opportunity to push their demands for an end to France’s status as the world’s leading consumer of nuclear power.

‘Big debate’

During his successful 2012 presidential election campaign François Hollande, courting the support of the “Europe-Ecologie-les-Verts” (EELV) grouping of Green parties, pledged to find ways to reduce France’s reliance on atomic energy.

In coalition negotiations with the EELV, he promised to launch a “big debate” and to start a process that would see “the nuclear share of the energy market drop from 75% to 50% by 2025.”

But so far, only one of France’s 59 nuclear reactors, at Fessenheim in eastern France, is due to be decommissioned. In operation since 1978, it is France’s oldest nuclear plant.
Hollande has also committed to finishing the construction of the 3rd generation EPR reactor in Flamanville, Normandy, which is expected to go into service in 2016.

French energy giants Areva and EDF (the French state is majority shareholder in both companies) have already sold three EPR reactors (one to Finland and two to China) and are hoping to expand exports of the EPR model to global markets once they are operational.

‘Belligerent provocation’

On Monday, leading French environmentalist and former Green Party presidential candidate Noël Mamère described Montebourg’s announcement as a “belligerent provocation” of the EELV, which has two government ministers and 18 members in the 577-seat National Assembly.

“It is extremely worrying to hear such a declaration from someone who is so central to the government,” he told Europe 1 radio. “If there is no clarification, and if this statement is not withdrawn, [the EELV] will be forced to re-examine the coalition agreements we made with the Socialists.”

On Monday, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls was openly supportive of Montebourg’s position, telling Europe 1 that nuclear energy was “definitely” France’s industry of the future.

For the opposition right-wing UMP party – which broadly supports maintaining and expanding France’s atomic energy industry – the Socialist ministers’ backtracking on its nuclear commitments proved the weakness of the EELV in government.

“The environmentalists are ready to swallow everything to remain in government,” mocked former Minister Nadine Morano in a tweet on Monday. “It is the worst betrayal of their beliefs on the nuclear issue.”

Date created : 2012-08-27

  • BELGIUM

    Belgium mulls closing two nuclear reactors on safety fears

    Read more

  • Japan

    Fukushima disaster ‘man-made’, report states

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)