Newsletter February 2019
There are no more seasons. The February Newsletter arrives in March! But we can’t blame everything on climate change! And it’s here just in time for a good cause because we can now announce the launch of our new website:
It’s splendid, it’s reliable, it’s user-friendly (isn’t it? you must tell us!), and it’s designed so as to be further enriched by content and suggestions coming from you.
The other event we want to share with you is the Great Debate (I agree, the parallel is audacious). Its preliminary conclusion is scheduled for March.
The great national debate
This subject has held a lively place in our discussions. Because the Voices of Nuclear are resolutely committed to transmitting facts and not opinions, we thought at first that we should participate only on an individual basis.
But for nuclear facts to speak for themselves, they must be part of the conversation. To push for a positive consideration of nuclear energy in a debate, as is our mission, is it not also to ask that nuclear be given the same opportunity as other energy sources to make itself known and demonstrate its capacities in all objectivity?
With only a few days left between now and March 15 for people to express themselves in the giant grievance book opened by the President of the Republic, we have finally decided to use this forum and encourage you to participate.
Access to the debate
Content of the debate
Public energy policy in the terms of the Great Debate aims to address the following issues: access to electricity, environmental protection, the economy, employment, the fight against climate change, the trade balance, security of supply and energy independence.
Our particular concern is to shed light on the imbalance in the information available to the public regarding the contribution of the various energy sources to these issues.
A distorted presentation of the realities is an obstacle to a decision made in the public interest. The treatment of the various energy sources in ignorance of the reality of their respective contributions leads to inefficiency and is contrary to the principles of public service.
If the Voices of Nuclear can honestly and openly pronounce on an aspect of public policy, it’s on the need for a transparent and objective establishment of facts prior to public decision-making.
Below are some facts which might help guide our contributions to the Great Debate, and which could help a legislator find paths to progress:
Governance and Citizenship
The opinion of French citizens and their national representatives is rarely sought on the definition and prioritization of the various issues: ecological transition, energy independence, purchasing power, etc., whereas these are fundamental.
- On the other hand, the French are asked for their opinion on the comparative analysis of the different means that are supposed to contribute to these issues, a complex technical and economic exercise requiring access to numerous data and concepts.
- Not all industries are subject to the same transparency requirements or to regulations equally proportionate to their impact on the environment, risks, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.
- With regard to participatory democracy, the nuclear industry is the only one subject to citizen control.
The various sectors of the economy do not contribute equally to the objectives of the ecological transition and therefore do not have the same priority: transport, construction, agriculture, consumer goods, industry, energy production.
- These sectors are not treated by law and public spending according to their relative priority.
- Governmental and institutional bodies are not required to be objective in presenting their analyses on the energy transition, nor are they encouraged to do so – for example, by the use of indicators to arbitrate between different solutions according to their actual level of efficiency: such as the ratio €investi/gCO2évité, gCO2/kWhproduit, EnergyReturnOnEnergyInvested, AnalyseCycledeVie, etc…
National organization and public administration
The supply of electricity in France is categorised as a public service (as defined here).
- Nevertheless, the parallel with education or health is not respected. A general regime is optimized for all in response to the objectives of the notion of public service. The mechanisms put in place for those who wish to free themselves from it, whether individuals or territories, must not prejudice the general regime. In other words, solidarity is exercised on the basis of meeting the basic needs of all, not on the basis of access to a differentiated service by a few.
- The weight given to the point of view of the inhabitants living in the vicinity of an installation is taken into account in administrative decisions, or not, depending on the type of energy source in question.
Four components are involved in the calculation of the tax placed on the kWh consumed by each of us: the base on which the tax will be levied; the amount of the tax; who pays the tax; the reasons and criteria on which this tax is established – participation in national concerns and/or compensation for the negative impacts of the energy in question on these concerns. We can add, even if it’s not calculated and directly linked to the kWh consumed: who benefits from the tax (through subsidies).
Currently, for the various energy sources in France:
- Information on these four components is not established and reported equally for each source.
- The basis on which the tax is levied does not include, equally for each, all the direct costs incurred by society, including negative externalities such as waste, pollution, and end of life costs.
- Their actual contribution to society’s needs and concerns is not clearly established.
- Consequently, their tax contribution (/compensation) to these concerns is not determined in full consideration of their actual contribution, nor are the subsidies from which their respective actors benefit.
Those are some examples. Over to you now. You’re off to a good start. We’re counting on you to have a great debate!
And we still need HELP!!!!! All volunteers and all forms of volunteering are welcome!
On behalf of the office and the entire Voice team