Friday, November 25, 2011

Nuclear War

The PS-EELV pact, which envisions shutting down 24 of France's 58 nuclear reactors, has handed Sarkozy a juicy campaign issue, which he plans to milk as much as possible. Although Hollande held firm on the Flamanville EPR, he gave in on the "sortie du nucléaire" line, not going quite as far as Merkel in Germany but still making major concessions to the ecologists. Or does his position reflect a true conviction about the need to exit from nuclear dependency rather than a mere political calculation? Impossible to say.

As I've said, I think this strategic decision is a mistake. It would have been better to promise tougher safety measures and to close any plants that don't measure up. And to couple that with increased research on nuclear alternatives. But to leap into the unknown is irresponsible, and Sarkozy will not let anyone forget it.

I understand the concerns about nuclear power but not the urge to abandon it precipitously and, to my mind, irrationally, with no viable substitutes in sight.