France's Nuclear Failures

Publication - 30 November, 2008
The great illusion of nuclear energy

France's Nuclear Failures
The great illusion of nuclear energy

Published by Greenpeace International, November 2008

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Executive summary: Today, the world is confronted with dangerous climate change that threatens the lives of millions of people and the ecological integrity of the entire planet. To avoid the most dangerous effects of climate change, we must at least halve our carbon emissions by 2050. The energy investment decisions taken today will determine whether we will achieve the necessary CO2 emission reductions in time.

The nuclear industry, in decline for several decades, has seized upon the climate crisis as a revival opportunity, aggressively promoting nuclear technology as a 'low-carbon' means of generating electricity and thus an important part of our future energy mix. However, nuclear power forms an expensive and dangerous distraction from the real solutions to climate change - the necessary greenhouse gas reduction targets can only be met through using the proven alternatives of renewable energy technologies and energyefficiency.

At a time when France is setting itself up as the political and industrial champion of a supposed worldwide expansion of nuclear power, Global Chance – an association that includes among its members several of France’s few independent nuclear experts – has produced a report that shows how France’s nuclear promises are a dangerous illusion. France is locked into nuclear power in a way that presents an obstacle to the development of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

The Global Chance report – Nuclear power, the great illusion:promises, setbacks and threats, shows:

• how France’s nuclear programme fails to rise to the challenges of climate change and energy security;

• how France has not benefited economically from their ‘all electric, all nuclear’ approach

• how nuclear power is liable to suffer serious accidents – whether due to system failure, natural disaster or deliberate attack

• how no satisfactory solution has been found for the management of long-term waste; and

• how France contributes to proliferation, which remains a major risk for global security.

This Greenpeace briefing summarises the lessons that can be drawn from the Global Chance report.

Num. pages: 20