FRANCE CONSIDERS NUCLEAR PULL OUT
Energy Minister Eric Besson announced last week that a nuclear exit was among the options being considered in a study on the share of France's energy mix by 2050. Public opinion in France, which is heavily dependent on nuclear power, has shifted according to recent polls. Last month, a poll showed that three quarters of French people interviewed supported a withdrawal from nuclear power, while 22 percent wanted a nuclear expansion program. "We will study all possible scenarios for what we call the energy mix . . . it will be done with total objectivity, in full transparency, without avoiding any scenario, including the scenarios of a nuclear exit," Besson said on radio Europe 1. Though an energy ministry official said that France would consider a total pull out by 2050 or 2040, Besson said that he favored keeping nuclear's share at two-thirds of total energy output, calling nuclear as a major part of the nation's energy mix a "rational choice." Presidential elections in 2012 may result in a change in nuclear policy, but in the meantime France's nuclear output, 74 percent of total energy output in 2010, will likely stay the same. Last week, Besson announced that the country's oldest nuclear power plant, open since 1977, may continue to operate for the next 10 years as long as improvements are made. For the full story, see http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/08/us-france-nuclear-idUSTRE76733F20110708 and http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110708-701668.html. For the story on France's oldest plant, see http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-08/france-s-oldest-nuclear-power-plant-will-stay-open-besson-says.html.