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State owned Electricité de France is responsible for the production and distribution of electricity. In the years 1946-1970 there was the largest investment program of hydropower. Most of them are being constructed in the Alps and the Massif Central, as well as on such rivers as the Rhine, Rhone and the Durance. In the late 1980’s, nuclear energy began to develop, which is at relatively low production costs deliver greater rigor independence from an energy supplier. In France, operate more than 50 nuclear units, dedicated to the valleys of large rivers and sea coasts.
The share of nuclear power in France in 1997 accounted for 91% of all electricity produced. France was ranked second in the world (after USA) on the use of atomic energy.
Uranium deposits were developed in the central and western France. One of the world’s largest uranium enrichment plants located in Pierrelatte, in the lower reaches of the Rhone, and in the extreme north-west, at Cape La Ag in Lower Normandy – a large plant for processing radioactive waste. It should be noted that the development of nuclear energy in France did not cause any of active public opposition. The company Electricité de France and the state organizations responsible for the extraction of uranium and reprocessing of radioactive waste, formed a powerful lobby in support of a joint nuclear energy development strategy. In addition, when the government program of nuclear power has chosen a safe type of reactor, it approved a single project for nuclear power plants and consulted with local authorities over the choice of site locations. Special public service to exercise strict supervision over their construction. Since the early 1980’s, reduced power consumption, and hence to the need for new power plants. At present, France produces more electric power than it consumes, and exports it to the neighboring countries – Britain, Italy and Switzerland. buy term paper
In the last decades of XX century nuclear power became the basis for the energy industry of France, giving now 10,5% of general-purpose traffic. This was facilitated by the existence of its own large reserves of uranium. With the growth of primary energy consumption for the years 1980-2002 were from 56 to 134 million tons of fuel in its share of nuclear power has risen steadily: in 1980-2002 – from 6,6 up to 38% of national consumption. The share of other energy sources over the years either declining (the coal from 18.1 to 4%, petroleum products from 54.4 to 36%, hydropower from 8,6 to 3%) or grew only slightly (gas, from 7 to 14%, alternative forms of energy – up to 7%). In 2002 the NPP evolved 77% of electric power (1-st place in the world).
France pays great attention to the handling and disposal of nuclear waste (NW). There are formed annually from 1100 to 1200 tons of nuclear weapons. Initially they are stored in special pools at nuclear power plants, and then some of them are translated into storage at the processing plant in The Hague, developed by Cogema. There NW processed into MOX fuel, which is then used in 20 reactors REP, with a capacity of 900 MW. The plant in The Hague has a production capacity of 1600 tons, as described by World Nuclear Association.
The remaining waste can be divided into the following groups:
1. Very weak radioactivity. This is – mainly waste derived by the termination of operation of the equipment. They must be disposed of in a repository located in Morville. At present, their volume is 108,219 tons.
2. Weak and moderate radioactivity. This is the main part of the waste
as they constitute about 80% of the entire mass. Buried in the earth’s surface (Bollon – The Hague, Soulaines). The volume of burials to date is 822,881 cubic meters.
3. High level waste. While they are stored in temporary storage (1639 cubic meters). Currently considering a law whose adoption was expected in early 2006, according to which were selected by type of long-term storage. According to experts, it will store in stable geological formations at great depths. The preliminary plan identified the burial place – near the town of Moore, which amounted to about 8000 cubic meters. The main players in the field of nuclear energy in France are:
1. Commissariat for Atomic Energy (CEA), leading all the scientific and technological research in this area.
2. Company FRAMATOM.E – ANP, development and production directors.
Electricité de France (EDF), operator of nuclear power plants, responsible for production of electricity and equipment maintenance.
4. COGEMA, the production of nuclear fuel, semi-processing of waste.
5. Agence Nationale de déchets radioactifs (ANDRA), dumping of nuclear waste.
6. Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire (IRSN), security issues in the production of nuclear electricity.
7. Directorate General for Energy and Mineral Ministry of Economy, Finance and Industry, the overall supervision of nuclear power sector, including international cooperation.