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[en] In its report in October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized that the share of nuclear power in the world's energy mix must increase. It pointed out the major obstacle to doing this: 'The current deployment pace of nuclear energy is constrained by social acceptability [...]. Though comparative risk assessment shows health risks are low [...], the political processes triggered by societal concerns depend on the country-specific means of managing the political debates around technological choices and their environmental impacts'. Unprecedented efforts are being made to move civilization from one model to another within a single generation. Societal obstruction stems, as the report recalls, from erroneous perceptions. Overcoming it, which would open the way for rapid, significant advances, should be a priority, which is not now the case. The parties in charge of lifting these obstacles seem to have made them heavier. A few persons (in particular members of the association Voix du Nucleaire) have decided to tackle the herculean feat of, above all, 'informing', a task that most stakeholders have sidestepped. Will our children realize that we knew this choice was difficult and that this was the reason for doing something? (author)
[en] Radiation Portal Monitors (RPMs) are our primary border defense against nuclear smuggling, but are they still the best way to spend limited funds? The purpose of this research is to strategically compare RPM defense at the border with state-side mobile detectors. Limiting the problem to a comparison of two technologies, a decision-maker can prioritize how to best allocate resources, by reinforcing the border with stationary overt RPMs, or by investing in Mobile Radiation Detection Systems (MRDs) which are harder for an adversary to detect but may have other weaknesses. An abstract, symmetric network was studied to understand the impact of initial conditions on a network. An asymmetric network, loosely modeled on a state transportation system, is then examined for the technology that will maximally suppress the adversary's success rate. We conclude that MRDs, which have the advantage of discrete operation, outperform RPMs deployed to a border. We also conclude that MRDs maintain this strategic advantage if they operate with one-tenth the relative efficiency of their stationary counter-parts or better.
[en] Transparency, pluralistic appraisals, participation in decision-making... How are international, European and French regulations now being applied? Have NGOs been capable of using their rights of access to information and of participation in decision-making to understand nuclear energy and play a role in this field? The French National Association of Local Information Committees and Commissions (ANCCLI) has drawn up an inventory of the regulatory tools designed for this purpose. How have 'civil society' and the nuclear industry put these tools to use as genuine means of action? What positive points come to light? And what are the points to watch and to improve? Between the (oft emphasized) urgency of finding a solution and the necessity of taking time (to obtain information, improve skills and confer with stakeholders), 'civil society' expects more sincerity, even humility, from players in the nuclear industry. Above all, NGOs want to see to it that their participation carries weight when decisions are made. (author)
[en] The new Sustainable Taxonomy aims at identifying activities that contribute to the ecological transition, in accordance with European climate and environmental objectives. While the eagerly awaited regulation is almost operational and received the European Parliament's approval, the European Commission is considering the reintegration of natural gas and nuclear energy in the taxonomy. Looking closely at the chronology of events and at the European transparency register, Reclaim Finance sheds a light on the intense gas and nuclear lobbying that led to these dangerous last-minute discussions. Key findings: - It took two years of work to exclude fossil gas and nuclear from the new European sustainable taxonomy. Now, backdoor dealings and special procedures could lead to their integration. - 189 players from the fossil gas and nuclear sector mobilize 825 lobbyists -450 full-time equivalents (FTE)- to put pressure on the European Commission. They are spending between Euros 71.4 million and Euros 86.6 million a year to influence EU decisions. This is a conservative estimate as the EU transparency register is voluntary and non-binding, thus allowing unreported and under-reported lobbying. - The European Commission largely listens to fossil gas and nuclear lobbyists. Between January 2018 and July 7, 2020, EU officials held 310 meetings, 52 between the publication of the final report on the taxonomy in March 2020 and July 7, 2020. Since the taxonomy process started, in 2018, they had 2.36 meetings a week with them. The frequency of these meetings slightly increased after the last report was published in March 2020 from 2.28 to 2.86 times a week. - The fossil gas lobby is especially vast and powerful. It gathers 167 entities that spend between Euros 68.8 million and Euros 82.9 million each year and devotes 759 employees-419 FTEs-to promoting the sector as a 'bridge' energy.
[en] With this issue 435 of Futuribles, we begin a new series of articles on energy questions and climate change - an enormous subject, the systemic character of which became clear to us when the French Minister of Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot resigned in late August 2018. Hulot deplored the lack of greater - political and popular - support to enable real influence to be exerted on government policy and an ambitious project of ecological transition to be promoted in the face of the challenges posed by climate change. In this first instalment, we concern ourselves with the question of the actors involved in environmental questions: who are they, what weight do they have, and what are their actual motivations? Daniel Boy, a specialist in public opinion and political ecology in France, offers a broad conspectus of environmental actors, from the supranational to the local level and ordinary French citizens, taking in national public bodies, elected or consultative, on the way. He shows, for example, what their positions are on ecological questions, how that has evolved, and how it might put them in a position to act (or not) in this area
[en] In late August 2018, the French Minister for Ecological Transition Nicolas Hulot, who had been in post for a little more than a year; threw in the towel. As he saw it, it had to be admitted that, with the best will in the world (and one couldn't deny that he had that), it was impossible to implement an ecological transition worthy of the name without mobilizing all the parties concerned, including economic and institutional actors, in all sectors. Effecting ecological transition is a systemic undertaking; it involves the support and coordination of everyone and cannot succeed otherwise. As we have seen in the various articles already published in the series Futuribles has devoted to energy and climate issues since last March, France and Europe have great ambitions for transition to carbon neutrality. And yet, as Jean Haentjens shows here, confirming Nicolas Hulot's observation, there are still very many obstacles to the success of such a transition, and they are very often ideological and socio-political in nature. Above and beyond individual behaviour, which certainly has to change (and which has to be encouraged to evolve), it is in fact at the level of transformations of socio-technical systems (transport, energy, agriculture... ) and their financing that the main obstructions occur. Given this finding, and the complex interactions involved, will the ecological emergency at last shift the dial? (author)
[en] Pierre-Franck Chevet, former president of the ASN, and Herve Mariton, mayor of Crest and former MP, interviewed by Richard Lavergne and Delphine Mantienne on the topic of 'How to talk about nuclear energy in France?'. Both interviewees explain the difficulties to talk about nuclear energy with the general public and with nuclear opponents in particular