Newsletter April 2019

Newsletter – it’s a little long, but it’s worth it! And it wasn’t very easy to write – you will understand why 😊

We seek an answer regarding the usefulness of pro-nuclear civil society.

Thanks to Sauvons le Climat (SLC), FORATOM, Saving Our Planet and Environmentalists for Nuclear (EFN) for the information they contributed toward the writing of this newsletter.

SUMMARY

The sustainability of Voices of Nuclear is at stake. And with it, the question of our usefulness … and even more so, that of the USEFULNESS OF ANY CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATION PROMOTING A POSITIVE AND FACTUAL VIEW ON NUCLEAR ENERGY.

A few weeks before running out of cash, we decided to gather some facts to justify the utility – or not? – of seeking support for pro-nuclear civil society.

PRO / ANTI, IS THERE ROOM FOR COMPROMISE?

Nuclear supporters in France

Civil society

  • Sauvons le Climat · Voices of Nuclear ·  Saving Our Planet ·  EFN (see their respective budgets, below)
  • Employees: 0
  • Total budget for one year: €90k (Voices of Nuclear: €30k and one full-time volunteer, not renewed)
  • Subsidized portion: €0

 SFEN Société Française d’Energie Nucléaire – a learned society with ties to the French nuclear industry)

  • Employees: 10
  • Supporters: ANDRA, AREVA, ASSYSTEM, CEA, EDF, ENGIE, NUVIA, ONET, REEL

FUN FACTS !

  • Excluding SFEN, over the year, the total budget of pro-nuclear associations is €90k, including €0 in subsidies, and they have 0 employees.

  • This budget represents 0.625% of that of anti-nuclear associations

  • The number of employees involved in anti-nuclear activities in the above-mentioned opposing associations is about 60, while SFEN has 10 employees.

  • There are more employees at Sortir du Nucléaire than at SFEN (and therefore in all nuclear support organisations).

  • The Voices and Saving Our Planet are only 1 year old and it’s not certain they will last beyond this first anniversary.

  • EFN (Environmentalists for Nuclear) is 23 years old, is regularly solicited by the press, is present in 10 of the 19 national CLIs (Local Information Commissions), is recognized by the IAEA, but survives on an annual budget of less than €10k.

Nuclear opponents: France

 

 Greenpeace France > Foundation for Nature and Mankind > France Nature Environnement > CLER Network > Sortir du Nucléaire (Leaving Nuclear Energy) > Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth).

No budget information on Green Cross, WISE France, negaWatt, Alternatiba, GlobalChance.

Annual data (43% of the total of those identified)

  • Employees ~= 59 (excluding Greenpeace France, GlobalChance, Alternatiba data).
  • Total budget ~= €14.4 million (excluding GreenCross, Wise, GlobalChance, Alternatiba, RAC data).
  • Subsidized portion ~= €1.37 million (excluding the same data as above + negaWatt).

– Only WISE, Global Chance and Sortir du Nucléaire are dedicated to opposing nuclear power.
– The actions of the others are spread over several “environmental” actions.
– Conservatively, we assume that, based on the information we have been able to obtain, we find the same proportion of their resources devoted to Energy/Climate subjects as Greenpeace in 2017, i.e. 43%.

FUN FACTS !

  • At a minimum, in annual data, the associations opposing nuclear power can count on around 60 employees and a budget of €14.4 million, including €1.37 million in subsidies.

  • Greenpeace does not disclose the number of its employees.

  • FNE, FNH, Les Amis de la Terre and RAC also receive more than €2.07 million in public funding over 5 years for their participation in the CESE (Conseil économique, social et environnemental – a French constitutional assembly having an advisory role in the legislative process).

  • There is an endowment fund “For a future without nuclear power.” This fund receives donations, legacies and life insurance distributions. It supports all non-profit actions and projects for the phase-out of nuclear power.

  • Green Cross, very anti-nuclear, author of the report “Gas: an accelerator of the energy transition“, is financed in particular by GRDF, GRT Gaz, Natexis, METRO Cash&Carry, Bonduelle, ADEME, Les Mousquetaires, Eiffage, Nature et Découverte, La Française, Fleury Michon, the Chamber of Renewable Energies of Monaco, Armateurs France, World Efficiency (salon), Moroccan Coalition for Water.

Situation in Europe

FUN FACTS !

  • In Europe, nuclear energy represents 50% of low-carbon electricity and a total contribution of €507.4 billion to GDP (direct contribution: €100 billion).

  • The amount associated with the gas lobby is largely underestimated. See particularly here and here. Gas companies finance Hydrogen Europe, for example.

  • The environmental associations present in Brussels are not included here, yet they concentrate their considerable resources of energy/climate lobbying in favour of renewable energies and sometimes gas, and against nuclear power.

  • Part of the oil & gas lobbying expenses are dedicated to supporting wind and solar energy (which have the effect of locking-in fossil fuels as backup energy sources). Conversely, as investors/shareholders, they are also the final recipients of a large part of the public subsidies granted to wind and solar energy.

  • These figures do not take into account the European Commission’s contribution to the various energies, in terms of research, training and Juncker plan budgets, etc.

WHAT ROLE FOR NUCLEAR SUPPORTERS?

Nuclear energy and its supporters are generally held in low esteem, and their efforts at communication receive little public attention. Nuclear civil society in France is almost non-existent, and has just about zero influence on the current debate.

Is this normal?

The Direct Citizen path – reflected in public opinion and votes

Formal or informal public opinion surveys show a catastrophic perception of nuclear power. This is confirmed by the barely perceptible reaction to the loss of 5000 jobs with the premature closure of the Fessenheim reactors, and by the fact that 80% of French people believe that nuclear power contributes to climate change.


How about a helping hand?

Action through the media: enhancing the quantity and quality of media presence

No comment. Especially since we have just seen a new rampage on the anniversary of Chernobyl. This can still give us a good laugh (read the comments!) and maintains the only income-generating activity possible in this remote area.

More seriously, it will not have (completely?) escaped your attention that the law of 22 December 2018 on the fight against the manipulation of information has entered into force and is now fully applicable! On 25 April and until 10 May, the CSA launched a public consultation on the implementation of actions to combat the manipulation of information and promote the dissemination of reliable information.


How about a helping hand?

The political path – reflected in political and regulatory decision-making (France)

This is a less-known subject and easier to evaluate. Are there any forums open, or even foreseen, for civil society through which nuclear civil society could have a say?

  • National Commission for Public Debate: Debates on the 10-year Energy Plan (PPE) in 2018, and the National Plan for the Management of Radioactive Materials and Waste, in progress.
  • Local Information Commissions (37 CLIs – one per nuclear installation) – The authorities, ASN (Autorité de sureté nucléaire – Nuclear Safety Authority) and Government ask for their advice on a multitude of subjects related to safety, energy policy, industrial policy, etc. In 2016, the President of the ANCCLI (the association of all the CLIs) regretted the lack of presence of pro-nuclear civil society in these debates and called on it to make its voice heard.

  • High Committee for Transparency and Information on Nuclear Safety (HCTISN). A public consultation on improving the safety of 900 MW reactors was held between September 2018 and March 2019. The only associations represented in the debates, as in the CLIs, were nuclear opponents.
  • ASN Expert Committees – Yves Marignac, director of WISE-Paris and a principal in negaWatt and GlobalChance, belongs to 3 of the ASN Expert Advisory Committees. He was apparently appointed to “balance” representation within the expert committees, traditionally composed of experts from the nuclear sector. ( n’est donc pas un expert permanent auprès de l’ASN comme l’a récemment annoncé France Info)
  • Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE or EESC). Its role is to advise the government and parliament on the development of laws and the direction of public policies. Example given in the presentation video: “The energy transition law is based on the EESC’s recommendations.”

    Its paid members are appointed and represent civil society: many trade unions, professional associations, young people, families… and France Nature Environnement, La Fondation pour la Nature et l’Homme (also known as Fondation Nicolas Hulot), Friends of the Earth and the Climate Action Network. The needed balance among these associations is provided by members from the community of … hunting and fishing!

    Among the associated, paid personalities, Madeleine CHARRU, VP of the CLER network (a group promoting renewable energy sources), is rapporteur of the EESC report of 9 April 2019 “Climate-Energy: France must give itself the needed resources. Opinion on the draft National Low-Carbon Strategy and Long-term Energy Plan” as well as on the draft “How to accelerate the energy transition? Opinion on the implementation of the Energy Transition for Green Growth Act” on 28 February 2018.

  • Soon to be complemented by the Citizen Participation Council (150 citizens chosen by lot), the national version of all the citizen councils and consultations that are being developed throughout France.


We could really use a helping hand

A survey on the future of the Voices of Nuclear!

All of this said, we need to decide what shall we do. Being a team, I propose to do it together. It takes only five minutes, or less. You can tick several answers to all of questiona. Click here to participate in the survey.

 

Myrto

In the name of the Voices team

 

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