Is it a myth that France has a successful nuclear industry?

  1. Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    http://www.counterpunch.com/wasserman03192009.html

    "The myth of a successful nuclear power industry in France has melted into financial chaos...Delays and cost overruns continue to escalate at Areva's catastrophic Olkiluoto reactor construction project in Finland. Areva has admitted to a $2.2 billion, or 55%, cost increase in the Finnish building site after three and a half years....The Flamanville project---the only one now being built in France---is already over $1 billion more expensive than projected after a single year under construction. ..... And the definitive failure of America's Yucca Mountain nuke waste dump mirrors France's parallel inability to deal with its own radioactive trash. ... The potential American reactor market has also been bloodied by the definitive disposal of the proposed high level dump at Yucca Mountain, Nevada. After decades as the centerpiece of America's "solution" to the nuke waste problem, with at least $10 billion spent on it, Yucca's failure underscores France's own waste dilemma. ....

    s Schneider's "Nuclear Power in France---Beyond the Myth" points out, after 35 years of nuclear power development, the French "nuclear dreamland" gets only 16% of its final energy from nuclear power.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Harvey Wasserman has made a career out of being an anti-nuclear crackpot. His views are not credible. He lies, misleads, distorts. I'm pretty sure you've posted some of his nonsense before and been told that before...

    I read the article - it is a rambling mismash of facts that don't really have any relevance and opinions that aren't supported by them. For example:

    -Typically, the financial and schedule trouble of nuclear plant construction is a matter of regulatory red tape. For the one he mentions, you can also add a failed business deal. This doesn't have anything to do with his point (not that he had a coherent point to make anyway...).

    -Yes, nuclear waste storage is a huge problem: a huge political problem because of guys like him! Guys like him make it a problem, which is, of course what he wants!

    -For that last fact, it's one crackpot citing another without a reference to what the fact means, much less why it has any relevance to anything. I found the article it came from and what it is from is the fact that only 21% of France's energy consumption is for electricity and of that 76% is from nuclear power. Assuming he's not manipulating some of that data (I think he is - it looks like he mixes consumption and production), so what? Why does that piece of information matter?

    In short, that's a completely useless article, ensabah6.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  4. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    From the article:
    To clear up any confusion... 'final energy' seems to be defined in Schneider's paper as a the total energy consumed (if you can call it that) by France, including electricity production, industry, transportation (no wonder oil dominates!), etc. Always be wary when you see percentages in reports.... If its not an absolute number with a unit on the end, its really easy to trick people!
     
  5. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    I think I have. It's a newer article though with different facts. How does France store its nuclear waste? l I didn't realize $10 billion was spent on Yucca. Are his facts about cost over-runs true?
     
  6. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    I wondered about that since I heard a much higher figure for electrical energy produced by nuclear in france.
     
  7. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Sounds like a pretty small overspend for such a project.
    The big-dig in Boston was costed at $6bn (2006 $) and had cost over $20Bn when they stopped counting - perhaps the US should abandon freeways?

    Like the UK, France reprocesses most of it's waste into MOX fuel, the US stores most of it .
     
  8. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Well for Obama and the financial crisis that would not be acceptable -- is there a way to engineer a more affordable solution in todays credit crunch?
     
  9. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Why do you keep posting links to Wasserman's obviously biased website (at least two threads from you are evident here)? Why not do your own research? Legitimate questions are fine, but you can answer your questions elsewhere, and at least two threads linking to this website smells of bias and an attempt to distort nuclear energy reality.
     
  10. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Here's an article that says the number is 41%.

    If - and I'm not clear on this, but the number implies it - they compare nuclear power produced with oil burned, then it is an apples to oranges comparison. 1 GW of produced electrical power takes 2.5 GW of consumed fuel power to generate.
     
  11. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    But still useless as uselss as his others - why are you not detecting this pattern?
    I think the same way we do - locally in power plants. They have similar political issues to us.
    That isn't very much considering the political red tape for the project. And the fact that Obama torpedoed it after it was ready to go was predictable and shows just how big of a problem the politics is. The disaster that is American nuclear progress over the past 20 years (ie, none) is completly political.
    Probably, yes. So what? He implies they are abnormal - you believe him? When has any government ever done anything for what they promise it would cost?
    So far, Obama's only contribution to the issue is to block the use of the Yucca storage facility. What's worse than a project that went way over it's budget? A project that went way over it's budget, was finished, worked, and then got shut down for no good reason.

    That pattern is not uncommon with the politics of nuclear power - there was a recent thread here about a nuclear plant in New England that was up and running and ready to start delivering power to the grid (it passed all it's functional tests and literally was ready to go with a word) when political pressure shut it down and decomissioned it. The residents of the area then (still?) paid for the plant and the decomissioning with a huge surcharge on their electricity bills. Stupid.

    It is political baloney like that that is what causes the problems that Wasserman is citing. And he of course knows this because he is instrumental in creating these problems!
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2009
  12. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    that's for the reply -- I understand Obama shuts down Yucca, could another administration 4 years from now re-open it?
     
  13. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Certainly. It is also possible that Obama himself could change his mind and open it (not reopen - it was finished but never opened, held up by red tape). When he closed it, he (his Energy Sec) said basically, 'we'll figure out what to do about the waste later'. Perhaps after a year of reality testing their ideology, they will relent. It happens.....no, I'm not optomistic.
     
  14. Astronuc

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    It appears that Wasserman misrepresents some of the information and compares apples and oranges as others mentioned.

    Here is an article (dated 2002) on HLW treatment by CEA in France.
    http://www.cea.fr/var/cea/storage/static/gb/library/Clefs46/pdfg/14-wastevitrification.pdf

    I can't address all the specific issues/claims mentioned by Wassermann without an extraordinary amount of research and time.
     
  15. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    on stem cell research he emphasized science over ideology (i.e prolife religious beliefs)
     
  16. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    fact checking is why i posted here
     
  17. QuantumPion

    QuantumPion 875
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    I think this is more of a bash against Areva then the nuclear industry as a whole.

    I especially like this quote:
    "In 2008, France's nuclear power output dropped 0.1%, while wind generation rose more than 37%."

    Which is ridiculously skewed point of view. A drop of .1% is most likely just due to the timing of plant outages (e.g. if plants have 18 month cycles, and there are an odd number of reactors, then every other year more reactors will have outages, causing a slight decrease in capacity factor on odd years). A 37% increase in wind power is meaningless statistical garbage, how many megawatts are we talking about? While the nuclear power sector produces dozens of GW-yr's I bet wind is still in the MW-yr range.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2009
  18. mgb_phys

    mgb_phys 8,952
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    It's always a favorite statistic of news reports - the alternative energy sector is showing the highest growth = a one man company that puts windmills on caravans just hired an apprentice to make the tea.
     
  19. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Probably less than that. I think France has maybe 5 windmills? I'm a big supporter of alternative energy but people like Wasserman need to stop writing articles and go back to serving french fries. I don't understand why these people feel they need to lie their asses off to make a point.
     
  20. Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    Raw numbers: France in 2008, had 721 MW-yr (so 721 megawatts average) of wind + solar + geothermal combined, vs 47.7 GW-yr nuclear.

    [​IMG]

    http://www.iea.org/Textbase/stats/surveys/elec_archives.asp

    Actually, I think that figure is the thermal generation of nuclear power, not electric.

    Using IEA figures - nuclear generation (above) is 418 TWh electricity per year, which is 1.5 exajoules. Using your factor of 2.5, this is about 3.75 exajoules of heat.

    France's oil consumption is 83 million tons/year, which is 3.5 exajoules thermal (@ 42 GJ/MT).

    http://www.iea.org/Textbase/stats/oildata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=FR

    Natural gas is an additional 1.8 exajoules.

    http://www.iea.org/Textbase/stats/gasdata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=FR

    So combining these three, the nuclear proportion is 3.75 EJ(thermal) / 9.05 EJ(thermal) = 41.4%.
     
  21. russ_watters

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Is it a "myth" that France has a successful nuclear industry?

    No he didn't. Stem cell research is not against his beliefs.
    That's fine, but fact checking isn't what you need. What you need is to learn to recognize and ignore a crackpot when you see one. One thing that may help you is I'm debating banning Wasserman as a source here.
     
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