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Nuclear Monitor Issue: 

(March 4, 2005) As 1991 law stipulated, a debate on the French Parliament on nuclear waste management should happen before the end of 2006. Within the framework of this event, Minister for Industry, Patrick Devedjian and Minister for Environment, Serge Lepeltier have requested the National Commission on Public Debate (CNDP) to organize a debate this fall.

(623.5664) Greenpeace France - Greenpeace is concerned about the will of the Ministers to organize thi debate just as a social and democratic caution to their future decision on waste management. But Greenpeace is also confident on the ability of the CNDP to organize a good debate, asking all the good questions. One of this question is definitely the question of the funds and liabilities.

A recent report The Court of Accounts (which oversees the finances of public bodies and state-owned enterprises) sounds the alarm on the abilities of the French nuclear firms to finance the decommissioning and the radioactive waste management in the future.

In France the total cost is estimated to 71 billions euros. EDF itself has liabilities estimated to 48 billions euros! In the way to part-privatisation these huge liabilities are a real problem for EDF. This problem is even bigger because of huge incertitude on final costs. Just as an example, the cost of potential deep disposal could be 40% to 230% higher than those used as an accounting basis by EDF, according to new Andra's (the radioactive waste management agency) estimation in 2003.

Other problem stressed by the Court of Accounts Report: EDF has only an "embryo" of the money need to face future clean up of the nuclear sites and manage nuclear wastes. This situation is explained by the series of acquisitions abroad in recent years. This situation has already been denounced by Greenpeace in 2003 within an economic study exposing the uncertainties and complexities surrounding nuclear power plant decommissioning reserve funds across Member States and the market distortions created by the unrestrained access to these funds.

Nowadays, the Court of Accounts conclusions join the Greenpeace fear on the abilities if the French nuclear firms to finance the future nuclear bill: EDF's preparations for nuclear decommissioning were marked by a lack of clearly formalised rules and raised concerns that the cost of safeguarding nuclear installations would fall on future consumers or the state.
This situation is not acceptable: the "polluter pays" principle must be respected and the French government must take action to clarify the cost estimation and the abilities of French nuclear industry to pay for its eternal wastes.

Source and contact: Frederic Marillier at Greenpeace France