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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

French President Calls For Nuclear Energy Carbon Credits

Generally speaking, nuclear energy has been the red headed stepchild of climate change cap-and-trade.  Ignored completely by the Kyoto Protocol and related schemes, the sector has never been eligible for creating valuable carbon credits and therefore misses the multi-billion dollar carbon finance boat.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy currently wants to change this and expand the carbon credit market to include nuclear energy also.

President Sarkozy would like to improve the financing options for nuclear energy and make it more widespread.  Climate change mitigation proponents and cap-and-trade advocates have traditionally been divided over the subject of nuclear energy, due to the long half-lives of radioactive fuel materials and the dilemma of how to dispose of them safely over time.

Nuclear power supporters, like President Sarkozy, argue that these are outdated arguments. There is little risk of a future Chernobyl or Three Mile Island recurrence, they say, using modern technology; it is time for a changed perception towards nuclear power.

I am not qualified to speak on the merits of either side, surely.  But I can say that if nuclear power is allowed to participate in the future carbon market, it will have a definite impact on prices and project market characteristics.  So with that in mind, here is a recent public article from the Wall Street Journal on President Sarkozy's recent statements and views on this important subject.  You can find the original at http://online.wsj.com.

Cheers -- Jon



Wall Street Journal Online

8 March 2010

Sarkozy Urges Easier Financing for Nuclear Energy

By Adam Mitchell & Geraldine Amiel

PARIS—French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday urged the World Bank and other international institutions to help ease financing for civil nuclear-power projects around the world.
In a speech at an international conference in Paris on the theme of access to nuclear power, Mr. Sarkozy said he proposes to "eliminate the ostracism of nuclear energy in international financing."

"I do not understand why international financial institutions and development banks do not finance civil nuclear energy projects," Mr. Sarkozy said. "The current situation means that countries are condemned to rely on more costly energy that causes greater pollution."

The French president said he would propose to change that situation. "The World Bank, the EBRD [European Bank for Reconstruction and Development] and the other development banks must make a wholehearted commitment to finance such projects," he said. Mr. Sarkozy also called for nuclear power to be included in carbon-credits systems.

"Outdated ideology means that a country developing civil nuclear energy cannot obtain carbon credits," he said. "And yet, these credits are used to finance all other forms of decarbonized energy."

Mr. Sarkozy said carbon dioxide credits should "be used to finance all forms of decarbonized energy under the new global architecture after 2013."

Nuclear power is the main source of electricity in France and the country has a fleet of 58 reactors, which it is in the process of expanding. Mr. Sarkozy wants France to export the country's nuclear technology as widely as possible and has long spoken in favor of boosting access to civil nuclear power around the world.

Separately, Mr. Sarkozy said he wants to boost nuclear expertise through expanding training opportunities. "I have decided to step up our efforts by creating an International Nuclear Energy Institute that will include an International Nuclear Energy School," Mr. Sarkozy said.

The institute will be an "integral part," Mr. Sarkozy said, of an international network of specialized centers of excellence that is now taking shape, that will see the first center being set up in Jordan.

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