Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
So, Where Is Gold's Corrective Upswing? - 7th Mar 21
US Treasury Yields Rally May Trigger Stock Market Crazy Ivan Event - 7th Mar 21
The Great Reset Is Coming for the Currency - 7th Mar 21
Gold Continues Declines on Bond Yield Jitters - 7th Mar 21
The Case for Inflation - 7th Mar 21
Dow Short-term Stock Market Trend Analysis - 6th Mar 21
Intel Rocket Lake EXPLODE on Launch - 11th Gen CPU's RUN VERY HOT Bad Cinebench R20 Scores - 6th Mar 21
US & UK Head for Post Coronavirus Pandemic Lockdown Inflationary Economic BOOM - 6th Mar 21
FED Balance Sheet Current State - 5th Mar 21
The Global Vaccine Race Against Time and Variants - 5th Mar 21
US Treasury Yields Rally May Trigger A Crazy Ivan Event (Again) In Stock Market - 5th Mar 21
After Gold’s Slide, What Happens to Miners? - 5th Mar 21
Racism Pandemic Why UK Black and Asians NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 BAME - 5th Mar 21
Get Ready for Inflation Mega-trend to Surge 2021 - 4th Mar 21
Stocks, Gold – Rebound or Dead Cat Bounce? - 4th Mar 21
The Top Technologies That Are Transforming the Casino Industry - 4th Mar 21
How to Get RICH Crypto Mining Bitcoin, Ethereum With NiceHash - 4th Mar 21
Coronavirus Pandemic Vaccines Indicator Current State - 3rd Mar 21
AI Tech Stocks Investing 2021 Buy Ratings, Levels and Valuations Explained - 3rd Mar 21
Stock Market Bull Trend in Jeopardy - 3rd Mar 21
New Global Reserve Currency? - 3rd Mar 21
Gold To Monetary Base Ratio Says No Hyperinflation - 3rd Mar 21
US Fed Grilled about Its Unsound Currency, Digital Currency Schemes - 3rd Mar 21
The Case Against Inflation - 3rd Mar 21
How to Start Crypto Mining Bitcoins, Ethereum with Your Desktop PC, Laptop with NiceHash - 3rd Mar 21
AI Tech Stocks Investing Portfolio Buying Levels and Valuations 2021 Explained - 2nd Mar 21
There’s A “Chip” Shortage: And TSMC Holds All The Cards - 2nd Mar 21
Why now might be a good time to buy gold and gold juniors - 2nd Mar 21
Silver Is Close To Something Big - 2nd Mar 21
Bitcoin: Let's Put 2 Heart-Pounding Price Drops into Perspective - 2nd Mar 21
Gold Stocks Spring Rally 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market Trend Forecast 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
Covid-19 Vaccinations US House Prices Trend Indicator 2021 - 2nd Mar 21
How blockchain technology will change the online casino - 2nd Mar 21
How Much PC RAM Memory is Good in 2021, 16gb, 32gb or 64gb? - 2nd Mar 21
US Housing Market House Prices Momentum Analysis - 26th Feb 21
FOMC Minutes Disappoint Gold Bulls - 26th Feb 21
Kiss of Life for Gold - 26th Feb 21
Congress May Increase The Moral Hazard Building In The Stock Market - 26th Feb 21
The “Oil Of The Future” Is Set To Soar In 2021 - 26th Feb 21
The Everything Stock Market Rally Continues - 25th Feb 21
Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity? - 25th Feb 21
What's Next Move For Silver, Gold? Follow US Treasuries and Commodities To Find Out - 25th Feb 21
Warren Buffett Buys a Copper Stock! - 25th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary US House Prices BOOM! - 25th Feb 21
Man Takes First Steps Towards Colonising Mars - Nasa Perseverance Rover in Jezero Crater - 25th Feb 21
Musk, Bezos And Cook Are Rushing To Lock In New Lithium Supply - 25th Feb 21
US Debt and Yield Curve (Spread between 2 year and 10 year US bonds) - 24th Feb 21
Should You Buy a Landrover Discovery Sport in 2021? - 24th Feb 21
US Housing Market 2021 and the Inflation Mega-trend - QE4EVER! - 24th Feb 21
M&A Most Commonly Used Software - 24th Feb 21
Is More Stock Market Correction Needed? - 24th Feb 21
VUZE XR Camera 180 3D VR Example Footage Video Image quality - 24th Feb 21
How to Protect Your Positions From A Stock Market Sell-Off Using Options - 24th Feb 21
Why Isn’t Retail Demand for Silver Pushing Up Prices? - 24th Feb 21
2 Stocks That Could Win Big In The Trillion Dollar Battery War - 24th Feb 21
US Economic Trends - GDP, Inflation and Unemployment Impact on House Prices 2021 - 23rd Feb 21
Why the Sky Is Not Falling in Precious Metals - 23rd Feb 21
7 Things Every Businessman Should Know - 23rd Feb 21
For Stocks, has the “Rational Bubble” Popped? - 23rd Feb 21
Will Biden Overheat the Economy and Gold? - 23rd Feb 21
Precious Metals Under Seige? - 23rd Feb 21
US House Prices Trend Forecast Review - 23rd Feb 21
Lithium Prices Soar As Tesla, Apple And Google Fight For Supply - 23rd Feb 21
Stock Markets Discounting Post Covid Economic Boom - 22nd Feb 21
Economics Is Why Vaccination Is So Hard - 22nd Feb 21
Pivotal Session In Stocks Bull Bear Battle - 22nd Feb 21
Gold’s Downtrend: Is This Just the Beginning? - 22nd Feb 21
The Most Exciting Commodities Play Of 2021? - 22nd Feb 21
How to Test NEW and Used GPU, and Benchmark to Make sure it is Working Properly - 22nd Feb 21
US House Prices Vaccinations Indicator - 21st Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction – No Need to Hold Onto Your Hat - 21st Feb 21
Gold Setting Up Major Bottom So Could We See A Breakout Rally Begin Soon? - 21st Feb 21
Owning Real Assets Amid Surreal Financial Markets - 21st Feb 21
Great Investment Ideas For 2021 - 21st Feb 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

France Wakes Up To The Fragile Case For Nuclear Power

Politics / Nuclear Power Mar 20, 2014 - 09:29 AM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop

Politics

First the Politics
March 18, newswires starting strangely with Kuwait's KUNA, reported that protesters from French environmental action groups, headed by Greenpeace and supported by activists of the EELV political party which is part of French president Hollande's parliamentary coalition, broke into France's oldest nuclear power plant (NPP) at Fessenheim located on the Franco-German border in Alsace, and occupied several parts of the operating section and its roof. Their claims were given considerable coverage by French media, if only to keep minds off Putin's victory in Crimea, fustigated as an “illegal act” by Hollande and his Foreign minister. One immediate result of this is the halt to construction, in French shipyards of two high tech missile-launch destroyers for the Russian navy, one of the ships named 'Sebastopol', in a contract worth about 1.5 billion euros.



The political claims of the Fessenheim NPP occupiers, who were arrested in a mass helicopter-aided operation by French anti-riot troops, as well as State militia gendarmes, and armed civil police, featured their claim that Fessenheim, at 37 years of age is well past its original design lifespan of 30 years. It has experienced a string of nuclear and mechanical accidents, is located on a known geological fault line, and above all is a “sitting duck target” for terrorists or hostile military strike action by missile, by any enemy country – Russia for example.

This theme, quite surprisingly, was allowed to be aired and developed on French 24/24 CNN-clone “news and views shows”, BFM TV and iTele, which are basically geared to selling advertising space for producers of anything that can be sold to couched potatoes. Why the couched potato masses should be interested in nuclear power – when they can slaver over Armani perfumes, Nespresso Gold capsules or really neat iPhone apps, while they munch a McDo and choose their next “low carbon” German saloon car – was not explained by the newzak TV channels. Instead, they were shown long interviews with EELV spokespersons including former presidential candidate Eva Joly (in fact a Franco-Norwegian), advancing the thesis of a possible missile or RPG or drone attack against any French nuclear power plant, including Fessenheim. Pointing out that occupying nuclear power plants is rather easy, they went on to suggest that pushing a button on a missile launcher a few kilometres away, or hundreds of kilometres away will also be “no problem”. The talkshow hosts were mock-aghast!

Your turn, Mister Hollande!  The media shifted back to normal government-friendly mode, and aired long black and white newsreel clips from the heroic days of French nuclear power, with the obligatory views of French atom bomb testing in Algeria and the south Pacific.  How that protects French NPPs was not explained, but newzak TV obviously thought “the bomb stuff” was great material for reassuring the couched potatoes.

Next the Problems
The official tally of functional and operating major civil power reactors in France is given as 58, at present, but the real total is closer to 62 or 63. These tallies also ignore the minimum of 4 “undisclosed military reactors” operating in France, which are only operating for the simple reason it is too expensive to turn them off. As long as they are called “operating” it is not necessary to dismantle them.

During “les annees Sarko” (2007-2012) of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, a politician now heavily and provenly implicated in a vast network of kickbacks, fake invoices and donations to his UMP party and his failed re-election campaign, from sources including “his friend” Muammar Gaddafi (while still living), “Sarko's” France made open and public attempt to sell 2 ex-military French nuclear reactors to Libya. The kickbacks from the aborted deal are now included in French justice investigations into his UMP's financing during that period.

To be sure the problem is not solved by selling outdated and dangerous military reactors to MENA dictators, in return for oil, but at least this kicks the problem down the road like a can. These very old and dangerous reactors are basically “plutonium brewers”, but why France would need to produce an additional 7 or 8 tons of plutonium every year for its present semi-official stock of 750 nuclear warheads, is never explained. Unofficial tallies of French plutonium stocks that the anti-nuclear associations like Reseau Sortir du Nucleaire make a point of publishing, run well above 200 tons, and are enough to build at least 25 000 smaller sized “tactical and compact” nuclear devices. France could take on the world with that – or irradiate its national territory and cause tens of thousands of cancer deaths, per year, with it. For the moment, French deciders prefer the second choice.

This creates at least one major problem - nuclear weapons cost money whether used or not, and the Fessenheim occupation shows that NPPs are a fabulous alternative – as long as they are located in Enemy Territory! In theory at least, offensive or 'classic' nuclear weapons are no longer needed, and this is a game changer, when or if our couched potato political “leaders” care to wake up to it.

Another key French nuclear problem is shown by Figure 1 in the following breezy OIES comment on the nation's nuclear power programme (www.oxfordenergy.org/2014/01/the-french-disconnection-reducing-the-nuclear-share-in-frances-energy-mix/). Over and above the tinges of English jealousy due to the UK being too de-industrialized to build anything as complex, mechanical, or Industrial Revolution style, as a NPP in England these days, and has to call for help from France's EDF-Areva, this OIES report shows how France's peak load power demand, and baseload demand have grown ever further apart. This report takes a pro-French reading of what it says national deciders should do about this in France – basically nothing – because any rapid retirement of the existing 58 or 60 NPPs would create a fantastic spending need for replacing them, far above 300 billion euros.

As the report also says, prolonging their lifespans – which ironically only in the Fessenheim case is accepted by Hollande's government as not an option and this NPP will be retired – is also too expensive, as well as risky. Reactor fleet retirement cost estimates published by the French General Accounting Office (Cour des Comptes) give an outline cost tally – only for decommissioning the present fleet in the period of about 2025 to 2045 – around 265 billion euros.

Too Expensive to Stop – Too Expensive to Replace
Nuclear France, due to a large number of convergent factors has higher and higher peak power demands at times of winter-time cold and high industrial and commercial power demand, but only slow-growing baseline or baseload power demand easily covered by France's “legacy nuclear” power plants. The economic rationale, in France for keeping the NPPs is bolstered by this growing peak-base gap, but the solution to covering the growing peaks will not be nuclear. The OIES report is too polite or too pro-France to explain this peak-trough problem can easily get worse as national baseload demand ceases to grow at all. Current energy and power-saving programs and laws, including obligatory shutting down of shop and office lighting at night, can even result in a decrease of baseload demand.
The reasons why baseload demand is likely to decline – not stagnate – include the impact of decades of underpriced nuclear electricity subsidized by “non-electric subisidies” to the nuclear-industrial complex stretching from nuclear weapons to reactor building and uranium mining, and including fuel fabrication and reprocessing, as well as nuclear waste disposal. For as long as these subsidies, estimated by the Cour des Comptes as an accumulated total near 250 billion euros since France's nuclear system, in 1956 was declared “majority civil”, continued to be paid out by central government, the nuclear party could continue. Underpriced electricity and therefore fast-growing power demand was an essential prop for the French national “all nuclear” rationale.

From 2013 under the Hollande administration, however, electricity prices in France are set by government to grow at 10% a year for at least the next 3 years. The same government caps public sector pay growth to 1% a year.

The impact of this on power demand can only be downward, the only question is how much. Having had a record-mild winter in 2013-1014 “obviously due to global warming”, power demand peaks in winter were low, preventing the logical result of large-area blackouts and brownouts. The problem is therefore kicked down the road – but the green NGOs and political parties have kicked a major dent in the couched potato article of faith, especially well brainwashed into French minds, that nuclear power is clean, cheap and safe and therefore “the only solution”.

We can leave the last word to Ihor Prokopchuk, Ukraine's ambassador to the UN IAEA who was quoted, 6 March, saying this to the NTI (Nuclear Threat Initiative):  "Potential consequences of a military invasion would be a threat of radiation contamination on the territory of Ukraine and the territory of neighboring states".  He added: "In addition, a significant amount of spent nuclear fuel, which is stored on the territory of the nuclear power plants, would pose potential very high risks." Problems, problems!

By Andrew McKillop

Contact: xtran9@gmail.com

Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

Andrew McKillop Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

6 Critical Money Making Rules