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French president clings to nuclear energy despite post-Fukushima fears, waste protests via The Washington Post

PIERRELATTE, France — French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Friday it would be madness to reduce his country’s huge reliance on nuclear power, despite worldwide wariness after Japan’s Fukushima disaster and protests this week over the dangers of waste.

As countries — including neighboring Germany — renounce nuclear energy in the wake of the tsunami-triggered meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant earlier this year, France has remained a bastion of atomic power. France depends on it for three-quarters of its electricity, more than any other country.

Sarkozy, expected to run for re-election in April against a leftist who wants to shut down French reactors, argued that abandoning nuclear energy would destroy jobs and cost billions that France cannot afford as it strains to rein in debts and reduce unemployment at nearly 10 percent.

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