Monday, May 16, 2011

FRANCE - Elysée first lobbyist European

The most influential lobbyist pronuclear the planet right now, by far, is the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris, the headquarters of the French Presidency of the Republic. Through his office, Nicolas Sarkozy presides over the destinies of the world's largest producer of nuclear electricity, Electricite de France, EDF short version.

The group, which the French state holds about 90%, achieved in 2010 a turnover of just over 65 billion euros, of which three quarters is attributable to nuclear power. His boss, Henri Proglio, has established close contacts with the Elysee and is among the classmates of the former economy minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, now director of the International Monetary Fund, also a strong supporter nuclear.

EDF operates the 58 French reactors, control the UK market through the energy company British Energy and is - for now - the capital of the German company Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg (EnBW), which has in its four reactors Germany (2 of which have however been arrested under the current moratorium until June 15, imposed by Chancellor Angela Merkel).

Moreover, Nicolas Sarkozy also heads the Belgian company Electrabel (7 reactors in Belgium) through the participation of the French State in Gaz de France. The nuclear subvient now three-quarters of the electricity needs of France, but not only - at the time it is more than a third of the total European production should be blamed on the French.

And that's not all: Sarko has in its portfolio one of the largest manufacturers of power in the world, Areva. Despite recent attempts by Anne Lauvergeon, chairman of the board of directors, former traveling companion of François Mitterrand, to diversify the group's activities in the field of alternative energy, the environmentalists still see as the company a den of evil.

Areva (a little over 9 billion euros in turnover in 2010) is now a leading global provider of military and civilian reactors (for nuclear submarines, for example). In addition, the group operates the waste reprocessing plant at La Hague highly controversial, manages convoys Castor, if criticized in Germany and elsewhere, carrying nuclear waste storage site to the transitional Gorleben and extract uranium mines in West Africa.

In recent weeks, Areva reported that a shipment of MOX fuel to Japan had been suspended [see p. 19]. Recently, the French and their great confidence were mistreated abroad. An agreement signed in 2007 by Nicolas Sarkozy and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi for the construction of a power has never been signed.

End of 2009, Areva lost a contract for the installation of four reactors in Abu Dhabi against a Japanese-Korean consortium. Nuclear power represents a major market - and therefore highly competitive - for the facilities providers. Combine the state-Russian Rosatom Atomstroyexport, protected by Vladimir Putin, eyeing the global market, and two American groups also feed global aspirations.

They are related to Japanese industry giant General Electric-Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Toshiba-Westinghouse. At the EU's official position on nuclear is neutral, as the chairman of the commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, likes to recall. However, the nuclear industry has been a sponsor of Europe at birth: the Euratom Treaty is part of the founding texts of the year 1958.

In recent years the EU has allocated a budget totaling 500 million euros for the construction of nuclear power plants in Romania (Cernavoda) and Bulgaria (Belene NPP). In the 2006 Green Paper, the development of nuclear energy is emerging as a major objective of the Union. In 2007 the commission published a report almost euphoric about the prospects for industry growth, welcoming the "business opportunities for European companies and potential benefits for the European economy with cheap electricity." Industry can rub their hands over 1 billion euros of aid diverse, from the budget of the EU annually fall into his purse.

In Brussels, the nuclear lobby is traditionally close-knit and largely represented. Foratom the European Atomic Forum, serves as a confederation of industry. It does not exist only reactor manufacturers such as Toshiba-Westinghouse, General Electric-Hitachi Nuclear Energy and Areva, but also producers of nuclear electricity as RWE, EDF and the French companies transport waste - or 800 companies in total.

At regular intervals, Foratom organizes meetings with European officials of the Directorate General for Energy and MEPs. During last fall, a model of the reactor was exposed to the European Parliament in Brussels. About plant safety, "the basic European standards are based on the reasoning of the notoriously pro-nuclear International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna," said MEP Hans-Peter Martin.

And the member mentioned in Article 44 of the Euratom Treaty, under which the industry is not required to disclose information of major importance. Result: The IAEA is seen today accused of having known that the Japanese installations were not able to withstand an earthquake of large magnitude, and doing nothing about it.

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