Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The reality of France's aggressive nuclear power push

"It's time to look to the French," New York Times columnist Roger Cohen wrote in January. "They've got their heads in the right place, with nuclear power enjoying a 70 percent approval rating." Similarly, presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain has wondered, "If France can produce 80 percent of its electricity with nuclear power, why can't we?" Even Southern Republicans are becoming Francophiles, with Georgia State Rep. Amos Amerson, chairman of the Georgia House Science and Technology Committee, asking how the French system might help the United States in its "efforts to obtain cleaner, cheaper, more stable energy." France is known as the country where nuclear power works. It operates 59 nuclear reactors, which provided 78 percent of its electricity in 2007. Now, the French government has decided to bring the "revival" of nuclear power to the world. The Sarkozy administration has made multiple nuclear cooperation agreements with other nations and the president himself has traveled the world as a nuclear salesman. "The requests by countries that wish to profit from that clean and cheap source of energy are legitimate," says French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. New bilateral nuclear trade agreements have been negotiated with Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, France has pledged to assist China, India, and Brazil in expanding their nuclear power programs.
Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

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