By Stéphane Lhomme
The politics of “fait accompli” will ensure a new industrial and financial disaster
Editor’s note: Despite the latest safety failures at the Taishan EPR in China; the endless delays and cost over-runs at the EPR projects in France and Finland; the technical fiascos and do-overs at the EPR construction sites in France, Finland and the UK; and the ongoing reckless plans for 6 EPRs in India, the French nuclear sector has far from abandoned its hubris. Instead, incredibly, and as Stéphane Lhomme tells us in a recent new blog on the topic, here translated into English, EDF has announced plans to begin construction of the “EPR2”. What could possibly go wrong?
Despite the fact that it has proven incapable of properly carrying out the construction of the EPR reactor at the never-ending Flamanville site underway since 2008, EDF leadership has nevertheless decided — according to the media outlet, Contexte — to allocate hundreds of millions of Euros to launch a construction program for new reactors, called “EPR2”.
Despite being fiercely pro-nuclear, President Macron has declared on several occasions that the EPR at Flamanville would need to be operational before any decision to build other reactors could be made.
However, it’s very likely that Mr. Macron is perfectly well aware of — and complicit in — this decision by EDF management to move forward with a new project.
Just as it has often done in the past, in its contempt for democracy and the interests of the French public, the leadership of EDF intends to use the politics of fait accompli: it proposes to spend hundreds of billions to start one or several “EPR2” reactor construction projects in order to then proclaim that the ship has sailed so the program cannot be stopped…. under threat of wasting hundreds of billions.
But it’s precisely by building nuclear reactors that EDF is already wasting astronomic sums, just as Areva did before that, going bankrupt due to the disastrous EPR construction project in Finland (which began in 2005, was supposed to come on line in 2009….but is still not complete)!
EDF claimed to have EPR construction under control despite Areva’s setbacks in Finland, but the construction at Flamanville is also a total catastrophe. So how can we possibly believe that, miraculously, EDF would be capable of building new EPR reactors, and moreover modified ones (hence the concept “EPR2”)?
For sure, from the anti-nuclear point of view, it is reassuring to be able to count on the incompetence and manifest inability of EDF to build nuclear reactors. But there is no justification for wasting incredible sums of money that are so needed for energy efficiency and renewable energy development.
On the contrary, EDF is guaranteeing failure with these delusional nuclear projects, and, as is the case for Areva (renamed Orano), it is the public who will pay for the steep losses. If this “EPR2” program is not stopped as quickly as possible, it will end in a new industrial and financial disaster.