Five reasons to oppose nuclear

One of the most read articles on this blog is ” 10 reasons to support nuclear power “, which I wrote in 2009 when the situation was very different. A lot happened since then that has made me reconsider my stance on nuclear, so here is a counter-point.

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EPR costs : a blow to the nuclear renaissance

EPR nuclear reactor being built in Flamanville, FranceI have to say that I now have mixed feelings about nuclear. Since I wrote and published my 10 reasons to support nuclear – by far my most popular post on this blog – the catastrophe at Fukushima took place.

Now the main French utility – Electricité de France, aka EDF – announced that its EPR reactor in Flamanville, France, will cost a massive two billion euros more than previously forecasted, now totally 8.5 billion euros.

Until Fukushima many were forecasting a nuclear renaissance. I guess these additional costs will be another severe blow to their hopes and to EDF’s business model.

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Good and bad news about nuclear

First, the good ones : To Reuters : ” Significant progress has been made in efforts to contain and stabilise the situation at Fukushima, the head of the United Nations atomic agency said on Friday.” And some bad : To the Wall Street Journal ” EDF announced that its EPR project in Flamanville, France (…) … Read more

Italy to build four nuclear reactors by 2020

There is something I totally overlooked while writing earlier this week my article on how Europe goes forward on energy. Indeed, last month Italy announced its intention to build nuclear reactors this decade.

Italian electricity is both heavily reliant on foreign fossil sources (70 percent) and on imports (ten percent comes from France’s own reactors). Building four nuclear reactors will decrease both.

A total of ten reactors might be built by the next 20 years to enable the country to get 25 percent of its electricity from this low carbon source.

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EPR reactor is being built in France

nuclear.jpgAccording to the French daily Le Figaro in its Monday edition, the construction of the first EPR reactor in France has begun and is going on well.

The EPR technology provides several improvements to the current nuclear plants, including increased yield and security, decreased waste and radiations.

This reactor will be operational in 2012 and will produce 1.650 MW. In this article I outline the specificities of this reactor and its commercial potential.

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AREVA to sell two EPR reactors to China

As I indeed got news I wanted to write for quite some time, I take the time today to present you the latest news on nuclear energy.

China signed last month for two new EPR reactors from French AREVA (website). These reactors are third generation ones and has been developed in Europe. Prior to this, China had signed a contract with the US company Westinghouse.

EPR reactors are third generation ones and are even less dangerous that current second generation reactors. Improvements are brought in terms of security as well as in competitiveness. Nuclear waste also should be reduced by 15 to 30 percent. Originally, EPR was developed by France and Germany, hence the name : European Pressurized reactor.

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