France Stay Home

The French Nuclear Safety Authority just released a report showing a 74% safety record of its nuclear power plants. Now, France wants to invade the US with its experimental design EPR reactors. Americans must say GO HOME to the unwelcome, unsafe French dirty business!

France, Stay Home!

Your 74% Nuke Safety Record is NOT OK Here!

Cathy Garger

The article below states that ASN, (Autorite de Surete Nucleaire) the French nuclear safety authority, yesterday came out with a report which states that 5 out of 19 of their nuclear power plants are "underperforming."

The report is online in French, and an English translation of the summary appears at the end of this piece. In the report, the French nuclear safety inspectors explain their concerns about nuclear safety within their country.

None of this safety report gives any comfort to this reader who lives only a bit more than 50 miles away from Calvert Cliffs, the site of the first reactor France is intent on building in the US. For those who have not been following this issue, the EPR (European Pressurized Reactor) design has never before operated anywhere in the world.

Judging from the nuclear track record of the French state, the operation of this over-sized, unproven reactor will unquestionably ensure the further toxic and radioactive contamination of the MD-DC-VA area, surrounding the nation's capital with deadly discharges - thermal, toxic, and radioactive - into the already heavily oxygen-depleted, Chesapeake Bay.

Despite many local citizens' disdain for France's ambitious and greedy visions for the US, however? The far greatest sin is absolutement not France's blatant disregard for the certain worsened contamination of the United States of America - demonstrated by its callous disregard shown both its own environment and own people.

No, French's troubling aims for the US are not America's greatest concern. Rather, the blame and focus must instead be placed squarely where it belongs... in the very laps of the US (s)elected officials themselves, as manifested by their enthusiastic and unanimous dedication to these experimental double-size nuclear monsters, originating with the radioactive French "christening" of the greater Washington, DC area.

To demonstrate our national zeal to welcome in the proliferation of French nuclear construction and its accompanying contamination, this nuclear drive was even conveyed as a "moral imperative" by Democrat MD Governor Martin O'Malley, and echoed with similar reverberations of warm embraces by the rest of the complicit power holders in all levels of government in the state of Maryland.

Not one (s)elected public official in the state of Maryland known to this writer has come out vocally and publicly against the AREVA French monster, EPR, now encroaching upon the Maryland-DC-VA Chesapeake region like Godzilla in the dark and sleazy shadow of the national District of Crime. The Calvert Cliffs unit 3 reactor deal, half the product of local Constellation Energy and the other half EDF (i.e., by and large the French state) is awaiting approval by the Maryland Public Service Commission and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission both, getting poised to release its life-destroying, heated, dirty discharges into the rapidly dead-and-dying Chesapeake Bay.

But tales of the use of Maryland and the national capital area as the state of France's "guinea pig" aside, let's first go back to the matter of a track record of 5 out of 19 French nuclear power plant "underperformers."

So, what's in the word "underperforming"... and just what does it mean to us here at home?

My guess is most would agree that "underperforming" is an acceptable term for use in describing a gourmet chef not at the top of her game when preparing duck a l'orange. "Underperforming" would also be a fine way to describe the waning athletic prowess of a 30 year old aging Major League shortstop who just does not have the same ol' bounce in his step like back in the day, when he was brought into the club as a rookie draft pick.

Most would agree that it might affect a farmer's bottom line - but that it's probably still okay - when old farm tractors plowing corn fields "underperform." It is most definitely *not* okay, by anyone's stretch of the imagination, however, when nuclear power plants do.

Let's put it another way. Five (5) out of nineteen (19) French "underperformers" equates to a rate of 26 percent of nuclear power plants identified as sub-standard performers.

In other words, France itself admits its own nuclear power plants have a measly 74% acceptable performance (think "safety") rate. Now can you just imagine what that rate might be if Germany (and not French) officials had performed the nuclear plant inspections Francais?

A grade of 74 when it comes to nuclear safety is just *not* acceptable in the US! For as many Americans who remember Three Mile Island and Chernobyl already know... when only 74 percent of French nuclear power plants are performing to the satisfaction of their own inspectors (who, undoubtedly, are encouraged to let things slide a little bit here and there) this is a FAILING grade in terms of assurance of safety for America's future!

Another article on the ASN inspections (below) provides some important information on the 2008 "incidents," such as radioactive leaks... leaks that contaminated not one, not two, but three French rivers, including the highly publicized, media-broadcasted Tricastin leaks into the Rhone River, which flows into the Mediterranean Sea.

Now I ask all sane, working minds reading this to contemplate why in the world would US government officials agree to allow a French nuke-builder - one with a miserable grade of 74% (in SAFETY, of all things!) to build several of their untested, unproven, experimental reactors here?

Well, to help connect the dots, we must backtrack just a bit. It is necessary to understand that many of our own slimy power holders around the US have already been enabling France to get its stinky, dirty foot inside America's nuke-welcoming door. French AREVA has been methodically putting its roots down throughout the US in many smaller ventures for years, donating mega-amounts of money to local communities, establishing its presence in forty-five (45) US locations from coast to coast.

Now, with plans to build its experimental pressure reactors in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Missouri (for starters) plus a $360 million construction project now slated to begin in Newport News, VA, courtesy of defense contractor Northrop Grumman? Home grown production of the primary components for the experimental pressure reactor is being cheerfully extended to the French, who are being invited to bring their pathetically poor nuke safety record here... to unsuspecting America - who does not yet have the slightest clue as to what's coming!

With advertising and lobbying dollars that would make even Warren Buffet blush, the purpose for bringing these French reactors to the US is being sold to the public as a source of electricity that is clean, safe, will not pollute the air, and even promises to save polar bears from extinction.

To counter these lies, Americans who know differently need to tell the story of swimmers prohibited from swimming and boating in French rivers and lethal radioactivity so great that the French people were advised to no longer to eat the fish! Greenpeace has done a good job of cataloging the gross French environmental contamination here:

It's important to realize the French nuclear invasion is being welcomed with open arms by those in power in our very own government. AREVA's big plans to take a colossal slice of what I've termed the US "nukuler insurgency" pie has been accomplished by AREVA's Congressional lobbying efforts to the tune of over $5.2 million in the years 2005 to 2008 alone. In other words, French AREVA has been buying its way into the hearts... or, more to the point, into the wallets - actually one and the same with regard to US Congress - perhaps so they'll "overlook" the fact that France will soon be bringing its abysmal "safety" record to America, too!

The articles and French safety report below all point to one thing and one thing only. The government of France has consistently been "good to go" with allowing nuclear power, which comprises nearly 80 percent of its country's electric supply, to result in the gross radioactive contamination of its air, soil (think grape and wine production) and rivers, while operating these death traps at a recent *un*safety record of only 74 percent.

Americans from coast to coast must realize that AREVA's commitment to building the nuclear power plant components in Virginia clearly demonstrates France's desire to build over-sized reactors and, no doubt, to continue in the French tradition of operating them at unacceptable safety levels - as the truly dedicated and long-term, lucrative investment commitment it promises to be here inside the US.

Yet there is no way France can do this here alone. We must realize that when AREVA, an international conglomerate and leader in the nuke industry owned primarily by the state of France, decides to build the largest parts for its new reactors near a major US Nuclear Naval city in conjunction with one of the nation's largest military contractors? This is a sure and certain sign the US has developed a cozy-close, solid partnership with a nation declared our enemy only six short years ago, just prior to the start of the second war on Iraq.

Our outrage over the planned construction of these behemoth French nuclear poison gas factories must be aimed, focused, and fired, not at the French, therefore, but rather at our very own (s)elected officials right here at home.

Those in power, our (s) elected officials now giving the thumb's up to these unproven French reactors... deadly disasters waiting to happen that spew toxic, lethal radionuclides into our air and water with their routine venting and purging all the time... are the real, true villains in the beginning chapter of the meticulously planned US "nuclear renaissance." With their greased and greasy palms, America's political leaders [sic] are now heartily welcoming Europe's international nuclear giant - and most deadly polluter - to now further destroy US air, water and soil... just as they have clearly demonstrated via their long term nuclear track record across the Atlantic.

In the words of the late Dr. John Gofman, "Licensing a nuclear power plant is in my view, licensing random premeditated murder. First of all, when you license a plant, you know what you're doing--so it's premeditated. You can't say, "I didn't know." Second, the evidence on radiation-producing cancer is beyond doubt. I've worked fifteen years on it, and so have many others. It is not a question any more: radiation produces cancer, and the evidence is good all the way down to the lowest doses."

By AREVA's nuclear involvement in America growing ever stronger, American political leaders have most clearly proven once and for all beyond any shadow of a doubt that critical things like safety, environmental protection, and the health and well-being of Americans are not their genuine concern. Thus, in order to save America's environment and countless lives for many generations to come, we must all do what we can to stop this "nukuler insurgency" being thrust domestically upon us now... at the very hands of those in positions of power throughout all levels of US government.

From an April 8, 2009 AP article:

"EdF and Areva both operate with "satisfactory" safety, the ASN report concluded, but both were lightly chided to further improve their security measures and those of their subcontractors.

The ASN said last year's incidents, which received widespread attention in the French media, were "of limited importance". Still, the report said "all nuclear operators must pay more attention to maintenance of pipes, whether they carry products that are radioactive, toxic, flammable, or explosive".

The 2008 incidents included a leak of unenriched uranium on July 7, and the low-level exposure to radiation of 100 employees of nuclear plant operator EdF on July 23.

In May, the ASN halted the building of a new generation reactor being built by EdF at Flamanville in Normandy for several weeks because of problems with the construction.

Areva pledged to invest about $30 million to improve health and environmental monitoring at the Tricastin reactor complex, which was the site of several of the 2008 incidents." or

Five French nuclear plants underperformed in 2008
Wed Apr 8, 2009 5:35am EDT

PARIS, April 8 (Reuters) - Five of France's 19 nuclear plants fell behind in terms of safety and management standards in 2008, France's nuclear safety watchdog ASN said.

The plants are Belleville in central France, Paluel in the northwest, Cruas in the southeast, Fessenheim in eastern France and Flamanville in the northwest, the ASN said late on Tuesday in its second public yearly report on nuclear safety.

Flamanville and Fessenheim were behind for the second year running, it added.
Fessenheim's reactor 1, France's oldest nuclear reactor, will undergo its third once-a-decade inspection in the autumn, after which the ASN will determine whether or not the plant can run for another 10 years.

The ASN said its negative rating would not have an impact on its decision to allow the reactor to run for another 10 years because the situation could easily be improved.
It said the ratings of the plants related to the way they applied its demands at a given moment in time.

"This situation is not permanent," the head of the ASN, Andre-Claude Lacoste, told a parliamentary hearing.

The proof was that Gravelines, France's largest nuclear plant with six reactors, which was described as the worst performer in 2007, was not singled out anymore.

The best performers in terms of safety were the nuclear power plants of Bugey in southeastern France and Dampierre in central France, while the top plants in terms of radiation protection were Civeaux in central France and Chooz in the east.

The ASN carries out regular planned and unplanned checks on EDF's (EDF.PA) 58 working nuclear reactors and decides whether they can restart after outages. It has the power to withdraw operating licences in case of serious safety breaches. (Reporting by Muriel Boselli; editing by James Jukwey)

2008 Annual Report by ASN in France

English translation

Paris, on March 2, 2009

The year 2008 was rather satisfactory in the plan of nuclear safety, but a strong action was necessary so that the owners maintain the rigour necessary. The situation remained delicate in the field of the nuclear power of proximity: the inspections of the ASN continued, the majority of the medical establishments made real efforts, but the situation remains very heterogeneous.

In the field of nuclear safety, the year was marked by the strong media repercussion of certain incidents. These events of limited importance related to drains of radioactive wastes failing leading to the diffusion of radioactivity in the environment. The ASN considers that all the nuclear power station operators must pay an increased attention to the transporting maintenance of the drains of the products, that they are radioactive, toxic, flammable or explosive and, in a general way, with all the supports installations of the INB. The year was also remembered by the establishment of an official report by the ASN and the sending of an injunction at EDF concerning the nuclear site of Cruas, pursuant to law TSN, for non-observance of the regulation concerning the transport pipes of explosive fluids.

In the field of protection against radiation, the ASN remains worried by the situation of the safety of the treatments in certain centers of external radiotherapy where manpower as people specialized in medical radiological physics (PSRPM) remain insufficient. It is up to the public authorities to rectify this situation and to define the transitional provisions clearly to set up to face this shortage. The ASN estimates that it will be necessary approximately ten years so that the level of manpower in PSRPM is satisfactory. In addition, the professionals must continue the committed efforts to reinforce the procedures of preparation and realization of the treatments, to organize in-house the collection and the analysis of the dysfunctions and to declare with the ASN the significant events.

In the field of the nuclear installations exploited by EDF, the ASN considers that the level of safety of these installations remains satisfactory, but that EDF should not slacken its effort as regards rigour of exploitation and improvement of the radiological cleanliness of these power stations. At the time when the third decennial visits begin from the engines of 900 MW, the ASN also awaits EDF that it specifies in 2009 its intentions over the duration of exploitation of its park (card 2). Finally the ASN is particularly vigilant on the quality of the realization of the building site by EDF of an engine of the type EPR in Flamanville. This vigilance caused besides a stop of the building site during 3 weeks at the request of the ASN because of nonconformities noted at the time it concreting of the foundation raft (card 5) and led EDF to reinforce the control of the building site notably and of its subcontractors.

Being AREVA, the ASN judges that it exploits its installations in a satisfactory way, but estimates that AREVA must take care of the level of the safety of auxiliary installations such as SOCATRI and continue its efforts of rigour in the declaration of the events. The ASN also estimates that AREVA must intensify its effort to take again old waste on the site of La Hague. AREVA, as an operational owner, respected the decision of the ASN forcing to him to before June 30, 2008 withdraw all the radioactive materials of the ATPu installation of Cadarache. Within the framework of the construction of the engine of the type EPR of Flamanville, the ASN noted into 2008 of the difficulties in the application of the regulation by AREVA NP and the unusual variations in the manufacture of the nuclear equipment under pressure by AREVA NP and its under treating. She asked AREVA NP to cure these various points.

The ASN carries a rather positive glance on the exploitation of nuclear installations of the ECA and notes that this one progresses on the subjects related on the control of the operations of civil engineering and criticality. However, the ASN awaits ECA which it reinforces the capacities and the independence of its nuclear general inspection. Finally it matters that the ECA respects its great engagements as regards nuclear safety and protection against radiation.

The ASN considers in a positive way the way in which the ANDRA exploits its centers of waste and prepares for appointments envisaged by the law of June 28, 2006. The ASN is attentive with the good progress of the step of search for a site for the storage of waste FA-VL. It also estimates that the ANDRA must maintain its capacity of control of the parcels of waste which it has vocation to deal with, by carrying out destructive examinations in particular.

In the medical field, the ASN notes that the health professionals start to adhere to the new system of declaration events suitable for affect the health of the patients or workers, created in July 2007. In radiotherapy, 30% of the centers declared at least an event with the ASN; in nuclear medicine and interventionnelle radiology, first declarations were recorded in 2008. The effort must be continued and intensified in order to develop the experience feedback and to make progress protection against radiation in medical environment and the safety of the treatments in radiotherapy.

In order to improve the transparency of its action, the ASN publishes from now on on its Internet site the letters of continuation of its inspections of the centers of radiotherapy, following the example what is made in the field of basic nuclear installations. The ASN also adapted the scale of communication relating to the incidents in radiotherapy (card 4) after one year of application on an experimental basis. The ASN stresses that the majority of the events declared in radiotherapy (98%) were classified on level 1 of scale ASN/SFRO (not of effect on health of the patients) and that the other events were classified on level 2 (effects moderate on a body or a function). In 2008, several territorial divisions of the ASN carried out inspections targeted in a hundred cabinets of radiology. This countryside showed that the regulation is respected overall in the majority of the cases, but that certain cabinets will have to implement corrective measures in order to cure the noted variations quickly.

In 2008, the ASN, at the request of the Government, worked with the extension of its field of competence to the safety of the radioactive sources. This not yet succeeded reform has the aim of entrusting to the ASN the delivery authorizations and the control of the radioactive sources to the title of safety, i.e. within the framework of the prevention of the malevolent actions. This reform should make it possible the ASN to increase its role on the questions of security (card 3), following the example majority of the other Authorities of safety in the world.

In 2008, the ASN, carrying the shutter transparency law TSN (card 1), attempted to follow an active policy in this field. Thus, in addition to the publication of the letters of continuations of inspections, the ASN delivers from now on public the opinions of the Groups permanent of experts that she consults. The ASN also put in public consultation on its Internet site its general policy as regards dismantling of the INB (card 8). In order to improve information of the public on the operation of the INB, the ASN, for the owners, a guide enabling them prepared to better write the annual reports which they must prepare in accordance with
article 21 of law TSN. Lastly, the ASN continues its effort of support to the CLI and with the ANCLI, for which the statute and the responsibilities were largely reinforced and who are actors of ground impossible to circumvent.

In 2008, the ASN continued to be based on the expertise of quality of the IRSN to give its opinions. In addition, the result of the reflexions of the IRSN aiming to the publication of the opinions that the Institute gives with the ASN within the framework of the analysis of the dossiers submitted to the Groups
permanent of experts will allow to reinforce the transparency of the processes by which the ASN makes its decisions.

With the international level, the ASN specified and made public its doctrines relating to the initiatives of development of nuclear plants in the countries which are not equipped with it (card 7). The ASN estimates that, for these countries, a first nuclear plant should not reasonably be brought into service before 15 or 20 years. Indeed, nuclear safety being a national responsibility, this time must make it possible each country to obtain with a capable local owner to ensure his responsibilities and a Controlling authority qualified and having a strong autonomy. These initiatives also constitute an occasion to promote the French doctrines as regards nuclear safety (card 6).

Thus, in 2008 the ASN consolidated its new statute of independent Administrative authority, in particular for the implementation of the new administrative mode framing basic nuclear installations and of its system of coercion and sanctions.

All that was not possible that thanks to the reactivity and with the competence of the personnel of the ASN.

Jean-Christophe NIEL
Managing director of the ASN

In fact, AREVA's current propaganda campaign is quite stunning and a must-see for all concerned: .