Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (US): The experts on nuclear power and climate change - World Nuclear Industry Status Report

The stock market did not hear the call. The claim of four climate mousquetaires at a side event of the Paris climate talks that “nuclear has tremendous potential to be part of the solution to climate change” was lost in space. One day after that enthusiastic statement by former NASA scientist James Hansen, a member of the illustrious quartet, the share value of the largest nuclear operator in the world, the French state-controlled Électricité de France (EDF), dropped to its historic low, a 42-percent plunge since the beginning of the year and an 84-percent meltdown in eight years. On Monday, December 7, Euronext ejected EDF, “pillar of the Paris Stock Exchange", from France’s key stock market index, known as CAC40. On Tuesday, December 8, EDF shares lost another four percent of their value. Two days later, the trade union representatives at the Central Enterprise Committee of EDF—unanimously and for the first time—launched an official “economic alert procedure” considering the “seriousness of the situation.”

These latest developments come as no surprise to analysts familiar with the international nuclear industry. Credit-rating agencies have warned for years that the launch of nuclear new-build projects are considered “credit-negative.” In October 2015, investment bank Investec advised clients to sell EDF shares amid fears that its connection with the nuclear plant project at Hinkley Point in the UK could put payouts to shareholders under threat. One month later, the French and British governments announced the signature of a framework agreement on a financing package including Chinese partners for the construction two French-built European Pressurized water Reactors (EPR) at Hinkley Point. The federation of EDF employee-shareholders EAS said in a statement that the interests of their company would be “gravely threatened” by the Hinkley Point project, calling it "a financial catastrophe foretold.” EAS asked the management of EDF “to stop this risky project, whose financial risks are too big for our company and which could put EDF’s very survival at risk.” Is EDF facing its Waterloo 200 years after Napoleon’s defeat?

Launched as a response to the Chernobyl disaster almost 30 years ago, not a single so-called Generation-III+ EPR reactor is generating power anywhere in the world...

more: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (US): The experts on nuclear power and climate change - World Nuclear Industry Status Report

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