Monday, May 01, 2006

France: Now that's Nuclear

France is pushing forward with its new nuclear power plan. France currently has 58 nuclear power plants, which accounts for nearly 80 percent of their total power output. Due to the lack of natural resources France currently possess, it is their intention to become almost entirely nuclear dependant. The agreement was naturally (no pun intended) met with haste by Greenpeace activists, regardless, France was determined to gain its energy independence. “French environmentalists say the economic benefits of nuclear energy are far outweighed by the dangers of its byproducts and their storage. They also say nuclear facilities are potential targets for terrorists.”

So what are the economic benefits?

• Nuclear power is cost competitive with other forms of electricity generation, except where there is direct access to low-cost fossil fuels.
• Fuel costs for nuclear plants are a minor proportion of total generating costs, though capital costs are greater than those for coal-fired plants.
• In assessing the cost competitiveness of nuclear energy, decommissioning and waste disposal costs are taken into account.

The U.S. looks about the same as coal to me, but if France does not have access to coal then it would be cheaper than any of the other sources.

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