The Paris newspaper Le Monde has speculated on what the impact would be if France followed Germany’s lead and decided to phase out its nuclear power generation industry, which provides 78 percent of France's electricity.
Areva French nuclear group former director Anne Lauvergeon warns that without the electricity generated by nuclear power, “It could be that the planet would become uninhabitable by 2050. Energy is a resource as important as water or food. As many people as possible must be able to access it,” adding that in order to supply the 9 billion inhabitants that will live on the planet by 2050 with power, "we need to double our electricity production. A lot of effort has to be put into energy saving and the development of renewable energy. And these efforts alone will not be sufficient to meet this target."
Institut Francais des Relations Internationales think tank energy consultant Maite Jaureguy-Naudin noted, “A person without access to electricity has a life expectancy of less than 35.
This is the case for 1.6 billion people in the world.” The issue of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels in lieu of nuclear power would need to be addressed, as Jaureguy-Naudin observed, as "either we give up in the face of global warming, or we pour all of our efforts into developing techniques for the capture and sequestration of CO2. But this would imply digging up reservoirs, which would raise other problems of acceptability, as this too is a risky technology."
By. Charles Kennedy, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com