Since the French power authority has refused to build wind farms, we built our own this morning on the grounds of a nuclear power plant in Penly, France. We put ten wind turbines up to protest the French government decision to build another nuclear reactor on the site, despite a large nuclear energy overcapacity and the far more environmentally and economically sane option of investing in wind energy.
Greenpeace activists display 10 model wind turbines on the premises of a nuclear power plant in Penly, France in protest at the French government's decision to build another reactor on the site.
Franc for franc, wind is the better investment. As detailed in a
report published today, "Wind vs Nuclear 2003" the same money spent
on wind power generates 5 times more jobs and 2.3 times more
electricity than a nuclear reactor.
The cost of the proposed French reactor is officially estimated
at some 3-3.5 billion Euros. If this amount of money were invested
in wind power, some 7616 megawatts of wind capacity could be built,
compared to 1550 TWh in the nuclear case. Wind would generate a
massive 24 TWh per year, the equivalent of 6.5 million households.
Nuclear would only deliver 10 terrawatts.
In recent years wind power has gone from the hippy fringe to
economic viability. In Germany, over 3,200 megawatts of wind power
were installed in the last year alone, supplying electricity to
more than 2 million households. In the EU, a massive 75,000
megawatts of wind capacity is expected to be online by 2010,
tripling the current power and adding the equivalent electricity
production of 14 large nuclear reactors.
Of course this worries the nuclear industry, especially given
the current decline in nukes: no single reactor has been connected
to the grid in the last four years, and it would take at least
another 10 years before a new reactor could come online. A growing
number of old reactors have reached the end of their life
expectancies and should be shut down. In reality, wind has already
taken the lead and left nuclear far behind.
"Greenpeace is urging state owned EdF, Electricity de France,
not to impose yet another dangerous and uneconomic nuclear reactor
on Europe. The EPR [European Pressurized Reactor] is nothing new,
it is an outdated and unsafe design, to be fuelled by plutonium and
will produce extremely radioactive waste," said our campaigner on
site, Jan Vande Putte.
"Europe is at a crossroad and we refuse to let the nuclear lobby
dictate our energy future regardless of the opinion, the
environment and the security of people. Greenpeace asks EDF to make
the right choice."
Download the full report
Wind v Nuclear 2003. (pdf file)