Another nuclear reactor (and another)!!

The Government of France has recently announced the construction of a second (new, or third, generation) nuclear reactor in the region of Seine-Maritime, following the one already under construction near here at Flamanville.

epr_reactor

News that was denounced by Greenpeace France, who claimed that France was renageing on a promise to use at least 20% renewable energy resources!. But with this news, accompanied by the announcement of the possibility of a third EPR (European Pressurised (water) Reactor), came the announcement of a fourth generation reactor which would use the same radioactive materials to infinity!! More power, at less cost, and with less nuclear waste.

The new reactor at Flamanville should be online by 2012, delayed by some months. The first EPR built in Sweden, though now some three years late in construction, should also be on line by 2012. Perhaps we need to wait to see what environmental effect these will have?

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At the moment France’s power source is 80% nuclear. Not only this, but France exports power thoughout Europe. Do we really need more wind-turbines (eoliannes), with their environmental and aesthetic blight on the landscape? Or will the nuclear option prove to be more, or at least as eco-friendly?

I know where my vote lies!!?!

Bob

Buffy goes to France -and back (eventually) part 5

Sunset walk on the beach at Sciotot

Sunset walk on the beach at Sciotot

 

Enfin! – Buffy went to France with us over the New Year. We travelled from Portsmouth to Caen on 28th December with Buffy safely tucked away in her crate in the rear of the car. She wasn’t anxious and seemed to have slept for the duration of the crossing. We walked her for a while when we left the port and then it was two more hours in the car before reaching home.

She loved the garden – much more space than the one in the UK – but even more she loved the beaches. The only fly in the ointment was the steepness of the stairs in our house, she went up to explore but then discovered that her rear end was descending quicker than the front end when she tried to come down. So she waited until Peter went upstairs to carry her down.

 We spent an enjoyable New Year’s Eve with Marjory and Bob and their French neighbours and friends who were more than happy to celebrate the New Year with a double toasting, one at each of the French and UK midnights.

 The weather was really cold but dry, perfect for brisk walks. Below you can see her on a walk through the woods at Flamanville, well worth a visit even if you don’t have a dog.

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The entrance to the woods is on the other side of the road from the grounds surrounding the chateau. There are a couple of circuits clearly marked out – but don’t go there before noon on a Sunday during the hunting season.

 buffyatflamanville

 We were booked to come back on Wednesday 7th January but, unfortunately, the French vet had not completed all the treatments necessary when we visited him on Tuesday, so we were unable to take that sailing. We had to go to a vet near the port for the missing treatment and were re-booked on the Thursday 4pm sailing.

Rather than drive two more hours each way to our house and back we stayed in a hotel, with a well behaved Buffy, in Ouistreham. When we got back to the port we were told that the 4pm sailing had been cancelled but that we could re-book on the 11pm crossing, unfortunately due to the timing of Buffy’s treatments we had to stay at the port from 4pm until the later boat sailed. Finally we reached Portsmouth at 7am on Friday 9th January, early enough for Peter to do a day’s work! Now we know exactly which three parts of her passport need to be completed by the French vet this should not happen again.

 Since returning Buffy has celebrated her first birthday. Now we can’t wait to take her over again in the spring as soon as Brittany Ferries restart their fast crossings to Cherbourg.

 Peter & Sue

Happy New Year from a snowy Pierreville

Yes, here it is. The holidays are over – very cold, but clear and bright for most of the last few weeks – and as people return to work and to school, here comes the snow. Pretty spectacular it is too –

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We were promised snow flurries overnight, and awoke this morning to a dull grey day; no sign of snow, just very wet.

At one point it seemed that it might just brighten, but the grey, cold wet continued. Then the snow, at first a little sleet, “won’t settle”  but soon changing to the biggest snowflakes we’ve ever seen -you might be able to get an idea from the pictures.

 snow21

The TV news from England this lunch time was about the coldest winter for a decade continuing; our next door neighbour says here is the coldest winter for over 40 years. Seasonal weather, even though it missed the holiday itself, perhaps boding well for seasonal weather throughout the year ??

Best wishes for the New Year to all our readers and guests.

Bob and Marjory