French nuclear watchdog orders billions in industry investment
A report ordered in the wake of the Fukushima disaster has given France's nuclear sector a clean bill of health but demanded improvements at more than 50% of power stations and said 'billions' of euros will be needed to improve the industry.
In the report, available here in French, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) checked the countries 150 nuclear power stations.
It found 79 of them were a 'priority' for additional safety checks in what the watchdog called a 'supplementary evaluation of safety' which began in late March in the wake of the Japanese accident.
In the result published yesterday (January 3) 58 of the 79 stations were, according to the report, already undergoing construction work to be improved.
ASN president, André-claude Lacoste, produced the report after a request from the French Government.
Mr Lacoste 'billions of euros' would be needed to make sure all the French sites were safeguarded from possible climate change related natural disasters such as flooding.
But he also said the nuclear power stations had a level of 'sufficient safety' and no direct action was needed at this time.
However, he also found safety margins needed to be increased and called for a rapid reaction team to take over stricken stations and deal with nuclear incidents to be set up by 2014.
A spokesman for Greenpeace France said: "The opinion of the ASN to recommend tens of billions of euros of investment did not surprise us.
"But the true question is now are our politicians ready to invest this money in nuclear while there's still no 0% of an accident."
According to Greenpeace the debate must now now focus on the transition to other forms of energy.
Watch Mr Lacoste at a press conference for the report below (In French).
Présentation du rapport de l'ASN sur les... by ASN_Publications