Monday, April 25, 2011

Hulot: Fukushima Changed My Mind

Nicolas Hulot, now a candidate for the presidential nomination of EELV, used to favor nuclear power as part of the solution to the energy problem (and accepted EDF sponsorship of his TV program "Ushuaia"). Fukushima has changed his mind: "Getting rid of nuclear power is a priority. This represents a new state of mind." A recent poll, however, showed that 62% of the French continued to favor nuclear power, primarily because they feared increased electricity costs if nuclear generation were eliminated (83% of French electricity comes from nuclear sources).


Anonymous said...

I've always read that the number is around 75%. Do you have a source?

Arthur Goldhammer said...

could be anything:

Anonymous said...

It's probably wiser for France, regardless of nuclear "fear", to invest in other energy sources.
A balanced mix, with short-term and long-term goals, is probably in everyone's best interests.

Passerby said...

@Myos: a reasonable proposal indeed.

Unfortunately the most vocals anti-nuclear proponents that can be heard through media are not so balanced. Either they are "clichés" ecologists straight out of Larzac or activists making unrealistic demands. Sometimes both.
Last night I saw a demonstrator on TV saying: "We want the nuclear power plants to be turned off. Not in 10 years, not in 20 years: tomorrow!"). Great plan. Should I buy I backup generator?

I don't know if it's due to media's poor depiction of ecologists, or if the Green movement has more than it's fair share of lunatics. But we would certainly need a more rational debate on long-term Energy plans & solutions.

bernard said...

On 75% versus 83%. Both numbers are "correct" but the 75% is better.

The right source is hard numbers from INSEE. You might want to check this link:

Now, why is 75% more right than 83% which is right too?

Simple, 75% (2009) is the share of nuke plants in the French national electricity production.

On the other hand, 83% is the ratio of national nuke plant production as a percentage of national electricity consumption. The difference between these two numbers reflects the fact that France imported some electricity in 2009 and exported (much more) electricity in 2009. Now to state that the 83% is a truly significant number, you have to hypothesize that all the electricity exported in 2009 was from non-nuclear sources (and the same for electricity imports). And, frankly, that's not an assumption I'd like to bet my shirt upon...

Last, I know 83% is popular with a lot of pols and attractive from a rethoretical point of view, but why overdo the argument when 75% is the number that has a more significant meaning. And, if someone thinks 75% is not way high, please take a look at almost (I just hesitate for Slovakia, they inherited a nuclear plant) any other country on earth.