From pv magazine France
The French government is currently defining its roadmap for the revival of nuclear power. However, some members of the scientific community oppose its plans to accelerate the development of new sites and facilitate the maintenance of existing power stations.
A newly launched platform of around 800 scientists is now calling for the end of the new French nuclear program. The state plan involves the construction of six new nuclear reactors at a total estimated cost of around €60 billion ($65.35 billion).
“This would divert for a long time the means necessary to face the combined challenges of the climate crisis, the collapse of life, generalized pollution, and the depletion of resources,” the oppositions scientists said.
The signatories have also drawn attention to the problematic management of nuclear waste and the monopoly of nuclear power in energy development policies.
“Today, any criticism of nuclear technology, subject to double industrial secrecy and military, has become extremely difficult within the laboratories and institutes linked to it,” they said.
The scientists also warned about the notion that nuclear power is a sustainable source of energy in the context of the climate emergency.
“The scarcity of fresh water and the reduction in the flow of rivers linked to a soon-to-be chronic drought in France, as well as the risks of submersion of coastal areas, due to the rise in the level of the oceans and the multiplication of events extreme weather conditions, will make the operation of nuclear facilities very problematic,” they said, noting that the cooling of nuclear power plants is the third-biggest source of water consumption in France.
According to data from the Ministry of Ecological Transition, nuclear energy currently require around 12% of water resources, behind agriculture and the consumption of drinking water.
“Betting on new reactors, the first of which would at best be commissioned in 2037, will in no way enable us to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions today and drastically, as the climate emergency requires,” the scientists said.
On June 21, the Constitutional Council validated the law to revive nuclear power. However, the institution found critical aspects in 10 of the 30 articles of the law. In particular, it rejected the modifications to the energy code, which aimed to take low-carbon hydrogen into account in the objectives of the national energy policy and in the multi-annual energy program.
However, the council acknowledged that the proposed nuclear development is justified by its contribution to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and that it is of major interest for the protection of the environment and the energy independence of France.
“The Constitutional Council recalls, in this respect, that it is not for it to determine whether the objectives set by the legislator could have been achieved by other means, since the methods adopted by law are not, in the state of scientific and technical knowledge, manifestly inappropriate for these purposes,” they said.
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