After leak upon leak and insult upon injury, France’s nuclear power facility at Tricastin has had yet another humiliation heaped upon it this week. Tired of the terrible publicity that the facility has attracted to the region, winegrowers are no longer to call their vintage Côteaux du Tricastin.
In a glorious masterpiece of Gallic understatement, Henri Bour, president of the local Appellation d’origine contrôlée (AOC) wine association, told Der Speigel: ‘Nuclear energy and food don't really go so well together in the minds of consumers.’ Like nuclear energy and safety or nuclear energy and competence, you could say.
The wine is now apparently to be labelled Grignan. Advertising the new name in advance was possibly a mistake alerting, as it might, the discerning wine drinker who are not known for their appreciation of overtones of uranium in their glasses.
With French officials now analysing groundwater at all of France’s nuclear sites, we’re reminded of the story from a couple of years ago when it was found that low-level nuclear waste was leaking from the Soulaine radioactive waste dump and into the groundwater in the Champagne region. The French nuclear industry threatens to continue adding a certain je ne sais quoi to the country’s most famous export for some time to come.