The results could be catastrophic for the French economy. France gets 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy. A 50% cut in the number of operating reactors could trigger a massive wave of unemployment.
The cost of replacement power from liquefied natural gas, wind, and solar power could transform the balance sheet of businesses forcing them to swap out payroll, and jobs, to pay rapidly rising electric bills.
French industry minister Eric Besson told the Bloomberg wire service on Nov 16, "It is an unbelievable and absolute regression."
The likelihood that Francois Hollande, the Socialist candidate endorsed by the Greens, will win the election next is not a sure thing, but his polling data suggests a strong possibility of a win. A survey of French voters carried out last week shows him leading current French President Nicolas Sarkozy by 53% to 34% with Sarkozy having gained 3 points, the margin of error, in the past week as well.
Meeting of minds not over yet
Eva Joly, a Green Party spokesperson, told wire services Nov 16 the EPR "is dangerous and and industrial and financial catastrophe."
However, Socialist spokesman Manual Valls countered that "It is out of the question to stop construction" of the EPR. And Hollande said in a TV inerview last week he agrees the reactor should be completed and enter revenue service.
EDF is building the reactor, but has run into problems. It is over budget and behind schedule. French President Sarkozy announced another EPR new build for Penly last year, but work has not started on that reactor.
Another area where the Socialists and Greens disagree is on he recycling of spent nuclear fuel. Areva produces MOX fuel at La Hague for about 30 reactors woldwide.
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