Just as Japan did with the Fukushima disaster, the French authorities are initially downplaying the scale of a nuclear accident, which is typical of the government and of the industry right now, said, journalist Moe Seager .
Fukushima I nuclear accidents, in a letter dated March 23, Prime Minister Francois Fillon asked the Nuclear Safety Authority to carry out an ‘open and transparent’ audit each of its nuclear installations, looking at the risks of flood, earthquake, loss of power and cooling, and accident management processes, in order to identify any improvements that should be made in the light of lessons learned from Fukushima. The initial conclusions are expected by the end of 2011. France conducted a more limited review following flooding at its Blayais Nuclear Power Plant in 1999.
Today the story reads, “They do not want public panic and they are playing a hide-and-seek game about the actual cause and the damage of the radiation and the exposure to the community surrounding the accident,” Seager stated.
There has been the first recorded death at a nuclear facility in France in 50 years. The authorities say there is little to fear and there is no risk, but considering nuclear power provides the vast majority of France’s energy, such a response is hardly surprising.
“They say it is a safe, well-regulated and well-managed industry but the facts speak differently. Records show that in the 59 nuclear plants that operate currently in France, since 1969 there have been 41 nuclear accidents and 51 [other] nuclear incidents reported officially.
The French people have been receiving a restricted and limited amount of information about nuclear accidents,” he explained.
Seager stated that since Fukushima the French public has woken up and decided that maybe nuclear energy is not safe and can be dangerous.
“A plant can go from an energy plant to a weapon of mass destruction. The public is waking up, but right now there is no mass movement and no organized oppositional leadership to confront the government,” he said.
With about 75% of its energy needs coming from nuclear power stations, it is going to take a long time for France to develop alternatives. But according to Seager, nuclear power plants do not have to remain indefinitely.
“There is a way out, and that is a compromise on consumers’ will to accept true research and development in the solar and wind and other forms of energy,” he concluded