The nuclear debate has made a comeback in recent weeks in Valencia after the trial held against 16 Greenpeace activists and a photographer because of the protest held in Cofrentes on February 15, 2011, only a month before the Fukushima accident. A trial that ended this week in the acquittal of the accused, for whom two-year sentences were requested. In the end, only Greenpeace has been fined with 20,000 euros to cover for damages caused.
On the occasion of the events the environmental group has organised in support of their activists, we had the chance to talk with Yves Marignac, an expert on nuclear power that has been working on this field in France, a country that strongly depends on this type of energy with a total of 58 reactors spread throughout its territory. From the French headquarters of the Wise International agency in Paris, Yves Marignac has advised both the French government and environmental groups on energetic issues. Marignac is co-author of the Negawat Manifesto, where the French energy transition and a nuclear-power-free model based on renewable energy is outlined for 2050. The expert is sure that there is another, more efficient, more environmentally friendly and less costly energy model that involves forsaking nuclear power in favour of renewable energy in the short term.
You have claimed on several occasions that an expert cannot be for or against nuclear power, why?
Which positions would be different as an expert or as an activist?
Then you are not against nuclear power, but you openly advocate for an energy transition towards a nuclear power plant-free scenario, why?
I understand that this model implies drastic changes in our way of life, are we citizens willing, or ready, to make this kind of changes?
Yes, in Spain we have a similar problem, aggravated by the economic crisis.
«The current energy model is not sustainable and we must consider the transition to other models based on consumption control, which involves a more intelligent and efficient use of energy»
«It is a total illusion to think that our lifestyle will remain the same excluding oil and nuclear power»
«The longer we wait, the more expensive our current system becomes and the less we manage to fund the energy transition»
«Nuclear power involves specific risks and it is an ethical issue for society to decide whether these specific risks should be considered just as side effects and acceptable regarding climate change»
What do you think about the argument used in favour of nuclear power that claims it is a clean energy because it does not emit CO2 and therefore it does not contribute to climate change?
And in your opinion, what direction should these countries take?
You also emphasise the risks nuclear energy entails, do you think that Fukushima has somehow changed our perception of risk?
In Valencia we have a nuclear power plant in Cofrentes, just 80 km away from the city, and I have the feeling that there was no awareness raised after Fukushima.
Anna Mateu. . Mètode’s Assistant Editor.
«It is counterproductive to delay the closure of reactors because this slows down efficiency as well as the development of renewable energy»
«Since Fukushima’s accident, nuclear authorities have grown more aware of the possibility of a major accident»
« In the event of a major accident, there is a risk for the population, but economic risk begins with a minor accident and suspicion»
© Mètode 2014