“It’s not that easy being green …”

The advert on English television for a greener electricity production by EDF (Electricite de France), promises to reduce emissions considerably by 2020.

EDF, apart from owning several English power supply companies, produces electricity for the English National Grid, much of it close to here at Flamanville. The advert, using “re-cycled” audio and visual clips, appears to suggest that recycling might be the way EDF will achieve this new, clean energy.

However, the date 2020 has a different significance in the local area. It is the date by which the new generation nuclear reactor is due to be commissioned at Flamanville. The present reactor will be decommissioned, and a new one, in process of being built at the moment will take over. Is this the way EDF will be even “greener”?

There have of course been protests from those who hold that nuclear power isn’t green, much led by Greenpeace; but in general the French appear to have taken on nuclear energy as the power source for the future. Recent attempts to erect wind turbines locally have been blocked by popular protest! And at the moment the benefits for the local community are apparent – new road and communication systems, growing commerce and a growing economy, and an influx of population (albeit for the moment transitory – teams for specific construction jobs).

Local authorities as well as benefitting from this, have in mind the effects this may have on the traditional local activities – farming, fishing and tourism – and have plans for these. They are also aware of possible effects on the local population (particularly in respect of accidents) and are at the moment in process of public consultation on contingency plans (see the blog for Pierreville).

Of more concern might be the huge complex at Beaumont-Hague that forms the nuclear waste re-processing plant. Cogema, however, are proud of their green credentials, and produce regular reports locally as to what is happening, and the way that they are making a positive contribution to the well-being of the local environment. Regular tours of the plant (In English on Thursdays last year) take place to bolster this green and safe reputation. Worth checking out for yourself? when next on holiday here.

Bob and Marjory

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