Parlez-vous puissance nucléaire?

This week’s Bloomberg Businessweek has an interview with Anne Lauvergeon, CEO of Areva, the mostly state-owned energy consortium that runs France’s nuclear power stations.

France, with their long history of indolence and socialism, is not exactly the first place I’d go to for business advice. But they’re doing something in their electrical power generating that is eminently sensible: some 80% of France’s electricity is produced by nuclear power.

Crossing the pond to the supposedly business-friendly U.S. of A., and we find that number closer to 20% and soon to decline as our aging nuclear power plants are shut down.

These will not to be replaced any time soon, thanks largely to Democrats in office since Jimmy Carter. Today’s Democrats have killed Yucca Mountain as a long-term solution for our nuclear waste. Today’s Democrats will give lip service to being for new nuclear power plants, but will also put up mountains of regulations to ensure that those plants never operate. Today’s Democrats, from Obama on down, are in the pocket of the environmental extremists, who don’t just hate nuclear power: they hate any source of power that threatens to expand industry and provide jobs.

Getting back to Ms Lauvergeon, she is diplomatic about our stupidity. But one thing that she did say ought to give pause to our politicians, especially those who prattle on about reducing carbon footprints and reducing our dependence on foreign oil (not usually the same bunch, to be certain).

Charlie Rose: The French get almost 80 percent of their energy from nuclear. Why are they more accepting of nuclear power than Americans? Because they like to be contrarian and also like technology?

Anne Lauvergeon: I think we have another reason that’s my own interpretation. In France, we have been traumatized by the end of colonialism and the civil war in Algeria. And to depend on Middle East countries for oil, that is impossible for France.

That is impossible for France. By “impossible” she does not mean that it is not possible, in the English sense of being something that could be done. No. She means by this that France will not depend on Middle East countries for oil.

Would that we had the French spine in this matter.


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