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France Has A Major Nuclear Crisis

Capitalist Exploits's Photo
by Capitalist Exploits
Thursday, Jun 16, 2022 - 17:03

My goodness, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse in Europe (better for coal), we get this.

France's Deepening Nuclear Crisis Means More Energy Pain For Europe

How the hell do you have half your fleet out of service — a fleet that provides 80% of your electricity needs? The mind boggles.

French electricity prices climbed after the region’s biggest producer cut its nuclear output target for a third time this year, the latest sign that the region’s power crisis is worsening.

Less output from Electricite de France SA’s fleet, the backbone of Europe’s integrated power system, is sending prices higher just as soaring inflation is pushing up costs for everything from gasoline to food. It could get even worse in winter as France, traditionally an exporter of electricity, may be forced to import more from its neighbours.

So how does France go from being “the backbone” of Europe’s power system to importing electricity from neighbors when its neighbors are dependent on France’s nuclear power fleet? This will take Europe’s energy crisis to a whole new dimension.

Remember this?

Macron clarifies french energy plans

And this clown Macron just got re-elected as president.

The 2012 election pledge by former French president Francois Hollande aimed to limit nuclear’s share of French generation to 50% by 2025, and to close Fessenheim – the country’s oldest plant – by the end of his five-year term, which ended in May last year. In June 2014, following a national energy debate, his government announced the country’s nuclear generating capacity would be capped at the current level of 63.2 GWe. It will also be limited to 50% of France’s total output by 2025. The French Energy Transition for Green Growth Law was adopted in August 2015. Nuclear currently accounts for almost 75% of the country’s electricity production.

When he was elected, Macron promised to respect Hollande’s target. However, he has said French reductions in nuclear power must be at a pace which allows the country to retain energy sovereignty.

In a speech at the Elysee palace to clarify France’s energy transition, Macron said 14 reactors of 900 MWe capacity will be shut down by 2035.

“I was not elected on a promise to exit nuclear power but to reduce the share of nuclear in our energy mix to 50%,” Macron said. He stressed, “To reduce the share of nuclear power is not to give up nuclear power.

And how would Macron make up the reduction in electricity generated by nuclear? Cheap natural gas from Russia? Wind, solar, burning trees? I’d favor fueling the furnaces with politicians, but that’s just me.

Maybe they will end up importing brown coal from Germany?

You just can’t make this stuff up. The level of incompetence from these governments makes you wonder if they are doing it on purpose.

On the topic of “you can’t make this stuff up”…

South Africa needs $250 billion to transition away from coal

Hmm, that is about 80% of South Africa’s annual GDP. Here is how the money is envisaged to be spent:

The researchers envision expenditure over 30 years as follows:

  • $125 billion on 150 gigawatts of solar and wind power plants
  • $18 billion on 33 gigawatts of battery storage
  • $8 billion on 5 gigawatts of pumped hydro storage
  • $18 billion on 30 gigawatts of natural gas-fired power generation
  • $50 billion on improving the power transmission and distribution networks
  • $24 billion to close the coal-fired power plants owned by the national power utility, Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., by 2040
  • $10 billion to compensate affected coal workers and rehabilitate the environment at idled coal mines

Financing for the program will need to come from the private sector in both South Africa and the rest of the world, the researchers said. So $250 billion is supposed to magically appear from the private sector (the government can’t finance it because they are essentially broke).

And what would this electricity cost the average South African, most of whom live in poverty? It certainly won’t be cheaper than what the average South African currently pays. Now add this to the rising cost of living in general.

Well, now we have a revolution on our hands (again).

And what would private investors demand in terms of a return for this investment? How will this change if interest rates were to double from current levels (or even just go up by 50%)?

And would South Africa still be able to export their coal or would that be banned as well?


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