EDF to buy British Energy as French nuclear accidents are exposed.

Update to deal   (24th Sept ’08)

Article 1. Article 2.

The French electricity group EDF is ready to unveil a £12bn deal for the takeover of the UK’s nuclear power generator British Energy as early as next week.British Energy is attractive to buyers because of its sites, which could be used to build a new generation of nuclear stations.

It’s believed 25% of British Energy would go to Centrica which would give the UK firm an alternative source of energy and reduce its dependence on gas – as well as giving the French some kind of British cover for what might be seen as further proof of the French takeover of the potentially resurgent UK nuclear sector.

There would appear to be a French takeover of the UK nuclear sector happening after the French group Areva this month became preferred bidder with two others to takeover management of the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria.

French nuclear leaks

France’s independent radiation watchdog sounded the alarm Thursday after a nuclear leak – the fourth such scare in a fortnight.

Electricité de France workers were exposed to radioactive particles on Wednesday that escaped from a pipe at a nuclear reactor at the Tricastin complex. Experts said that the latest incident involved the highest number of workers to be collectively contaminated in French nuclear history.

Tricastin, which houses four reactors, suffered another leak earlier this month at a separate treatment facility when 74kg of liquid containing unenriched uranium was spilled.

Authorities have just lifted a fishing and water sports ban in two nearby rivers.

It appears we should now be sounding the alarm here in the UK over the government’s nuclear energy policy.

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14 Responses to EDF to buy British Energy as French nuclear accidents are exposed.

  1. mike tregent says:

    We must be absolutely, completely bonkers in the pursuit of continued nuclear energy on the mounting evidence. We must be even more crazy to let the French anywhere near it too!
    The only way investors will get anything back will be through huge taxpayer subsidy.

    Keep investing in fusion technology maybe, but keep it collaborative with UK research firmly under our control.

  2. matt says:

    I for one can’t quite believe how the UK is being so blase about handing over such a potentially dangerous technology to a foreign private operator, who then only ends up subsidizing out various parts of the operations. Subcontractors are even more removed from direct responsibility and therefore more likely to make mistakes ,or to be held accountable. Think Bophal.

  3. earthpal says:

    Oh lovely, something all buzzing and radioactive to look forward to.

    Matty, are we just sitting back and accepting the inevitable do you think? Where’s the fight?

    Mike is absolutely right. We must be bonkers.

  4. matt says:

    Well it’s interesting EP, ’cause I think various environment minded people are willing the expansion of the nuclear option. Pete for one. He said so today rather emphatically! So maybe it’s a case of fewer people are against nuclear?

  5. earthpal says:

    Yes, like James Locklove. I think they see nuclear power as the only green solution because there is no time to wait for alternative energy sources.

    It’s fair to say that safety has greatly improved within the power stations themselves but the waste issue is still unresolved so for the world to build a new generation of nuclear power plants when it still doesn’t know what to do with the waste and at what costs is quite frankly, terrifying. The UK government talks about burying it deep underground but Gawd! There will be thousands of tonnes of the stuff! The Earth will be buzzing with radioactivity beneath us, for millions of years to come.

    Back to the topic of privatising nuclear, we never learn. It’s the same as PFI – the companies are most interested in profit and keeping their shareholders happy and the tax-payer will get the privilege of footing the bill for their mistakes.

  6. matt says:

    EP, last paragraph, bang on the button.

  7. the Grit says:

    Hi y’all,

    As to public vs. private run nuclear power, our record over here is interesting. We’ve never had a death attributable to privately run nuclear power. Our Government run installations, on the other hand, have racked up an amazing number of deaths going back to half a dozen or so during the Manhattan Project. You might note that most of the information scientists have on how nuclear radiation affects the human body, at least prior to Chernobyl, came from came from accidents our military had while playing around with fissile materials. The problems we’ve had, best I can tell, came about because of all the classified programs which only got oversight by a very few of our elected officials, and the public wasn’t even allowed to know about that. On the other hand, all of our privately run nuclear facilities are under constant scrutiny by our press and various environmental groups. The key to safety, I suspect, is a lack of secrecy.

    the Grit

  8. matt says:

    Good point Grit. Can’t argue against the need for transparency. EDF is after all mainly owned by the French government. But we’re not talking here about the military running our N-stations.

  9. Stephan says:

    The French connection doesn’t bother me too much, but it does seem bordering on criminally negligent of our governments that we have so few options left we may be forced back into fission based nuclear in such a hurry. However, from what I have read the new fuel technologies that have been developed and the greater plant efficiencies being planned will result in an order of magnitude less waste for each Megawatt of power; even though the waste is more radioactive and I don’t think it can be stored with that from older reactors – more repositories to find:-(

    But it may facilitate a speedier transition to a hydrogen based transport system which would be good wouldn’t it?

  10. matt says:

    How would it facilitate a speedier transition to a hydrogen based transport system?

  11. Stephan says:

    Carbon free hydrogen production

  12. matt says:

    Ah, hadn’t thought of that. It could well do.

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