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[cdn-nucl-l] France sticks to nuclear power
Posted South African News24.com on May 24, 2003 and at:
France sticks to nuclear power
24/05/2003 20:02 - (SA)
Paris - A French government minister dropped a heavy hint Saturday that the
country would stick with its pro-nuclear energy policy, saying a choice had
to be made between the dangers of nuclear power and those of climate change.
"Choices will have to be made very quickly, because the question of renewing
our nuclear installations will have to made from 2020 onwards, which, in the
energy field, is practically tomorrow," Nicole Fontaine, a junior industry
minister, told an audience in Paris at a discussion of future energy policy
Her remarks were seen as the clearest indication yet that France, which gets
almost 80% of its electricity from nuclear power stations, will not abandon
its reliance on nuclear.
"It isn't a question of keeping quiet about the risks linked to the use of
nuclear power, whether of an accident or proliferation for military uses,"
"But these risks have to be compared with the dangers threatening our planet
from the greenhouse effect; the choice has to be made between two
disadvantages and everyone should know it."
If no decision was taken by 2010 to update French nuclear power stations
France would have the choice in 2020 between gas-powered power stations
which would emit greenhouse gases contributing to global warming and
American nuclear power stations.
"These are not particularly appealing alternatives," a source close to
Earlier this month a French parliamentary committee called on the government
to give the go-ahead for two companies to build a prototype next-generation
The Socialist government defeated in a general election last year showed
less enthusiasm for the nuclear option than previous administrations, to
some degree because of pressure from the environmentalists who formed part
of the ruling coalition.
Fontaine said the price of oil and gas was certain to rise and claimed that
climate change posed "the most serious and urgent problem we face". France
had to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 75% by 2050.
She said that if the pattern of energy production in the US was the same as
in France, the US could cut emissions of carbon dioxide, the chief gas
involved in global warming, by 30%. - Sapa-AFP