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Nuclear energy

Published on May 9, 2011
Reply by Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, Minister of Ecology, Sustainable development, Transport and Housing, to a question in the National Assembly

Paris, May 4, 2011

I don’t have the same interpretation as you of President Sarkozy’s visit yesterday to Gravelines, where Eric Besson and I accompanied him. It’s not the interpretation of the EDF employees, either, who gave him the best welcome and overwhelmingly backed his speech.

Because I was there – unlike you – I’ll tell you exactly what happened.
President Sarkozy reaffirmed the choice of nuclear energy as a guarantee of energy independence, as well as a guarantee of energy produced at an acceptable price and in conditions of maximum safety. Here in France, but also abroad, we’re in a position to highlight French know-how.

In France, the Prime Minister has launched a comprehensive review. The first results will be known before the end of the year. It’s a very open review, which will involve the local information commissions [bodies informing the public on nuclear plants’ safety and environmental impact] and the High Committee for Transparency [and Information on Nuclear Safety]. And as President Sarkozy said to the NGOs from the Grenelle de l’environnement (1) that he received on Monday, why not involve outside experts?

That’s also our position internationally. France doesn’t export her power stations under safety conditions inferior to those she advocates for France. We advocate maximum safety in France and abroad. That’s why we’ve lost certain markets: we knew our power stations were more expensive because they were safer, but we didn’t want to lower the safety level on the pretext that they were being built outside French territory.

Finally, we’re ensuring this high level of safety is adopted by the highest number of States, and if possible all the States in the world. That’s the aim of the G20 meeting on nuclear energy which President Sarkozy has asked me to hold in Paris on 7 and 8 June so that the principle of an independent safety authority will be adopted by all the States in the world that use nuclear energy – not the case with India, as you’ve said. That’s a commitment by France./.

(1) conference bringing together the government, local authorities, trade unions, business and voluntary sectors to draw up a plan of action of concrete measures to tackle the environmental issue

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