Wind Turbines Erected to Protest French Nukes

In response to a French power authority’s plans to build additional nuclear reactors and refusal to build more wind farms, the environmental activist group, Greenpeace, has built their our own “model” wind farm the grounds of a French nuclear power plant. The ten wind turbines, each approximately 10 feet tall, were erected as a protest against the French government’s decision to build another nuclear reactor on the site.

Penly, France – December 17, 2003 [] Greenpeace has opposed the French government’s decision to continue to construct more nuclear power generating plants. The environmental activists argue that the French government’s plans for more nuclear power continue to grow in spite of Greenpeace’s insistence that France already has “a large nuclear energy overcapacity” and the government is choosing to ignore “the far more environmentally and economically sane option of investing in wind energy.” According to Greenpeace, franc for franc, wind is the better investment. As detailed in a Greenpeace published report, “Wind vs. Nuclear 2003,” the same money spent on wind power generates 5 times more jobs and 2.3 times more electricity than a nuclear reactor. The cost of the proposed French reactor is officially estimated at some €3 billion to €3.5 billion (US$3.6 billion to US$4.3 billion). According to Greenpeace, if this amount of money were invested in wind power, some 7616 MW of wind capacity could be built, compared to 1550 MW in the nuclear case. In their report, Greenpeace projected that wind could generate 24 terrawatts per year (the equivalent of 6.5 million households) while nuclear could only deliver 10 terrawatts. Greenpeace cited examples how in recent years wind power has gone “from the hippy fringe to economic viability,” as in Germany, over 3,200 MW of wind power were installed in the last year alone, supplying electricity to more than 2 million households. Greenpeace also cited how in the European Union (EU), “a massive 75,000 MW of wind capacity is expected to be online by 2010, tripling the current power and adding the equivalent electricity production of 14 large nuclear reactors.” According to Greenpeace, the increase in the development in renewable energy has generated worries in the nuclear industry, especially given the current decline in nukes. Greenpeace stated that no single reactor has been connected to the grid in the last four years; and it would take at least another 10 years before a new reactor could come online. Greenpeace maintains that a growing number of old reactors have reached the end of their life expectancies and should be shut down. “Greenpeace is urging state-owned EdF, Electricité de France, not to impose yet another dangerous and uneconomic nuclear reactor on Europe,” said Greenpeace’s on site campaigner Jan Vande Putte. “The European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) is nothing new, it is an outdated and unsafe design, to be fuelled by plutonium and will produce extremely radioactive waste.” According to Greenpeace, in Europe, wind has already taken the lead and left nuclear far behind. “Europe is at a crossroad and we refuse to let the nuclear lobby dictate our energy future regardless of the opinion, the environment and the security of people,” said Jan Vande Putte. “Greenpeace asks EdF to make the right choice.”
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