The French government on Monday gave EDF a month to outline how it plans to tackle skills shortages and other problems which ministers say have delayed nuclear projects and damaged the reputation of a key industry for the country. EDF’s Flamanville 3 nuclear project in France is running more than a decade behind schedule and has racked up billions of euros in cost overruns, and the utility has encountered setbacks in building plants overseas too. But the hitches point to bigger problems for France’s nuclear industry as a whole, according to a state-backed audit of Flamanville released on Monday, at a time when the government needs to decide in the coming years on its energy mix. The report highlights planning deficiencies and a lack of direction at Flamanville in the early stages of the project, as well as poor coordination with suppliers, but also says France has lost industrial expertise in the sector.
Reuters 28th Oct 2019 read more »
Presentation of Jean-Martin Folz’s report “The construction of the Flamanville EPR” to Bruno Le Maire and Jean-Bernard Lévy.
French Government 28th Oct 2019 read more »
In the early hours of 12 October 2017, eight people sneaked inside the grounds of the Cattenom nuclear plant in northern France. Without much difficulty, they reached the foot of a spent fuel pool – where the still highly radioactive fuel rods are stored after use. It was a scenario Greenpeace France had been warning about since 2001 through numerous reports, letters and speeches. France’s aging fleet of reactors is poorly protected, and not designed to withstand big impacts, such as an explosion set off by terrorists. A loss of water from the spent fuel pools – protected by walls only 30cm thick – could lead to a massive release of radioactivity. Fortunately, the eight intruders turned out to be peaceful activists from Greenpeace France; they set off some fireworks to demonstrate their presence and then allowed themselves to be led away. The ease with which they had penetrated alarmed the government of Luxembourg, which lies just north of Cattenom. It also finally spurred the French authorities into action; a parliamentary investigation into nuclear safety was announced the following month. It’s a textbook example of the role of non-violent direct action (NVDA) in a democracy, much like the recent climate strikes. When the authorities are sleeping at the wheel, and not responding to polite arguments, citizen action is needed to wake them up. In this case, it did. A happy end? Unfortunately not. In a classic case of shooting the messenger, prosecutors have pressed for stiff penalties. In February 2018, a court in Thionville sentenced the ‘Cattenom nine’ – the eight activists and a Greenpeace France employee. It imposed a 2-month jail sentence on two of the individuals, and suspended sentences on the rest. It also ordered Greenpeace France to pay €50,000 to the power company, EDF as ‘moral damages’.
Greenpeace 28th Oct 2019 read more »