News that the French government has targeted 17 nuclear reactors – out of the country's 58 operating fleet – for closure by 2025 has meet with resistance similar to that of South Korea, where a nuclear power phase out is planned: Experts are lining up against the idea.
As quoted by The Daily Caller, former deputy director of the Department of Energy's Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Lake Barrett said move would “certainly decrease (France's) independence and force France to rely more on energy imports.”
“It will be costly and work against the new government's desire to improve the French economy,” Barrett said, pointing to higher energy prices that would slow business expansion and have a negative impact on employment.
“Renewables promise a lot, but due to the intermittent power generation there has to be a large spinning reserve to fill in the load demand when the wind dies and sun sets. Battery technology is still very expensive, so imported fossil fuels, or imported fossil electricity, will likely fill the gap. Exactly what they have promised not to do in the Paris accord. But talk is cheap, especially when the burden falls on others later on,” Barrett said.
“Germany is now doing it as well, but Germany is very affluent with a strong economy and can afford to throw away billions of euros chasing the renewable dream,” he added.
Another expert, Professor Jeff Terry of the Illinois Institute of Technology said that France “is still going to have a net increase in carbon emissions and that doesn't help anybody.” He called the move to close plants “almost purely political,” noting that “I really hope in the United States we look at this as an example of what not to do.”
Nuclear Infrastructure Council Executive Director David Blee has similar concerns. He called it “fanciful” for the French government to believe it can replace 17 nuclear power plants with wind and solar power within 10 years. “It can only happen at two to three times the cost of the baseload nuclear they already have paid for,” Blee told the Caller.
The direct impact of the closure of 17 reactors involves a price tag of $248 billion by 2035, according to conservative estimates.
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