Tuesday 30 May 2017

Nuclear Fallout for Macron - And Us

Longtime readers will be familiar with my decade-long refrain that the French badly need
other countries to dig them out of their nuclear morass.  Their fleet of nukes (across France and, let it be remembered, the UK) is the biggest in the free world: they are ageing badly:  they have not been making anything like adequate provision for decommissioning:  their chosen strategy of extending the lives of the monsters is equally unaffordable:  intelligent frogs (and readers of this blog) have seen this coming for a long time.  

Their solution will centre on blackmailing their neighbours into contributing to a nuclear version of the CAP.  Brexit muddies the waters a bit for them; but they have other plans for the UK's role in all this - the exorbitant but government-underwritten Hinkley Point electricity price, plus the local blackmail of what's to happen to EDF's 8 existing reactors in this country. And, lest we forget, we are frequently** downwind of France ...

Enter the shiny new socialist technocrat Macron, who knows all this as well as anyone.  His official plan is to cut French nuclear capacity from 75% of their total generation to 50% by 2025; and his newly-appointed energy minister, one Nicolas Hulot, is a prominent anti-nuclear Green.  They can't afford that plan, either - and sensible people know that, too.  Rumours of a push-back by EDF are already flying.

Fun and games ahead.  A shame we don't have the leadership to make the best of our hand.  I first concluded May was going to prove useless when she rolled over on Hinkley in the face of threats from Hollande, and nothing we've seen since really changes that.


** Mark W says: sometimes, but not frequently


Anonymous said...

They should have been building replacements for these plants 20 years ago.

As should we for ours. On the other hand, the newer designs look like being smaller, cheaper and more flexible.

No doubt we will all be relying on gas and coal for a long time yet.

Don Cox

Mark Wadsworth said...

"we are frequently downwind of France"

Sometimes, but not frequently.

Captain holt said...

ME yes. North westerly. It's Belgium, holland and Denmark who should worry.

Penseivat said...

Oh, if only we could dig a hole in the ground and find fuel to keep our power stations going for decades.

Anonymous said...

" It's Belgium, holland and Denmark who should worry."

Worry about what ?

Don Cox

Anonymous said...

I'm pleased to see that Macron's Energy Minister is a M. Hulot.


Don Cox - 20 years ago a young, modern, thrusting lawyer called Blair had just come to power, and a year later, applauded by the Guardian, he stopped all new nuclear build and pretty much killed the UK nuclear industry.

(and you wouldn't have wanted to be downwind of Chernobyl or Fukushima - or Windscale)

Btw I listened to Barry Gardiner defending Corbyn on TWAO this lunchtime - he's a very good replacement for Mandelson as front-man in that he never gets flustered or angry, always "more in sorrow than anger". Pity he seems to be a wholly owned subsidiary ...


I see they're banging the "weak leader" drum again - whatever your views about Corbyn (mine are unprintable) you can't say he's been weak, given the huge campaign (IMHO unprecedented) against him from powerful interests inside his own party and their media allies - which he has so far faced down.

Demetrius said...

Anonymous beat me to it, all those of my generation who watched the film with delight, "Monsieur Hulot's Holiday" will have cracked up at the thought of a Hulot in charge of nuclear energy. Anyone for tennis?

Anonymous said...

Windscale was a nuclear weapons factory, not a power station -- and that accident was 60 years ago, in a reactor with no containment shield. According to Wikipedia:
"A 2010 study of workers directly involved in the cleanup—and thus expected to have seen the highest exposure rates—found no significant long term health effects from their involvement."

Chernobyl was the only serious nuclear power plant accident. As many as 60 people may have died. Again there was no containment. Nobody builds power stations like that today.

Being downwind from Fukushima would have done you no harm. Remember that cells have strong mechanisms for repairing damage to DNA (which happens regularly in normal cell division), and quite a lot of nuclear radiation is needed to overwhelm this defense. Fukushima was a financial disaster, not a medical one.

And new designs are safer than the one at Fukushima.

Compared to sunbathing, nuclear power stations are vastly safer. Nuclear is the safest source of power, even compared to solar. And it doesn't kill birds and bats.

We should be building more nuclear power stations in Britain. There is a big store of part-used fuel available.

Blair was a menace in many ways.

Don Cox

James Higham said...

Twould be nice to have an actual leader but compared to Macron, we probably do. Ten years of rubbish at the top of French politics - they love their masochism.

dearieme said...

"Oh, if only we could dig a hole in the ground and find fuel to keep our power stations going for decades"

We used to do that. It proved uneconomic, and also unreliable since the miners would strike at any moment when their production was particularly important to the nation. WWI - strikes. WWII - strikes. OPEC oil crisis - strikes.

Thank God the shits don't matter any more.

Anonymous said...

I think I may take a few more trips to France this and next year - while it's still there and before it turns into UK Mk 2, with shops open 24/7, compulsory diversity and the worship of a cargo cult called "the economy".

Already places like Carcassonne are starting to resemble North Italy, and not in a good way. Brittany was still OK last time I looked.

"If there is hope, it lies with the French farmers"

Ravenscar. said...

May has her baldrick, tim wotshisface............. and plastique Macron has Monsieur Hulot, what the fuck could possibly go wrong and with Mutti up his arse at all times?!

Btw, Hinkley and HS2.............Dear leader mrs May is such a disappointment or, maybe not Mrs Macavity is either nowhere to be seen or trying to find her spine, never to be seen again.

Hell's TEETH! What a fekkin country where, the political choice runs between steptoe, Mrs Macavity, and yellow peril timmi.

and then, you only get out, what you put in.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:45pm, if you want to rest on Sunday, fine by me, but don't stop me doing business with willing merchants.

Anonymous said...

Talk about "events, dear boy, events" (except that the events are self inflicted wounds) - can Mrs May actually blow it? Corbyn's joined the Have I Got Debates For You team at short notice - he only needs a Mrs May puppet on his arm "what's that Theresa? Strong and stable, strong and stable?" - we can guarantee that the other leaders (barring Paul Nuttall who I can guarantee will be called a racist either by a leader or by the audience) will unite to hammer her in her absence and the BBC will have fixed the audience - which won't take much fixing as Cambridge is as pro-Remain as anywhere.

Fortunately she has an experienced political bruiser sitting in for her, someone who can think on their feet and dish it out - Amber Rudd! * oh, my sides, my sides ! *

I can't bear to watch ...

Charlie said...

"I can't bear to watch ..."

Neither can most of the country, which is why the debate is irrelevant.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it was very poorly moderated and was a shambolic shouting match in front of a carefully chosen audience which exactly reflects the national demographic of college lecturers and social workers.