Switzerland - Plutonium Investigation n°8

Worth Reading

"Superphénix et la filière des réacteurs à neutrons rapides"
Robert Galley, President, Christian Bataille, Rapporteur,
Assemblée nationale, Rapport n°1018, 488 pages, 70 FF
Orders at: Kiosque de l'Assemblée nationale 4, rue Aristide-Briand, F-75007 Paris

Parliamentary Requiem for Superphénix
A French parliamentary enquiry committee was installed on 10 April 1998 to investigate the conditions of the "rise and fall" of the fast-breeder reactor (FBR) technology. The Superphénix FBR had been declared "abandoned" by Prime Minister Jospin in his general policy declaration in June 1997 and the decision has been confirmed by the government on 2 February 1998 (Cf. Plutonium Investigation U.K).

The 30 member enquiry committee organised hearings of about 50 representatives from industry, former and current governments, administration as well as from environmental organisations and trade unions.

The commission's report, in opposition to some expectations, acknowledges the irreversible shut down and comments on the "future" of the plant as the development of its region.

The main interest of the report, however, lies in the historical analysis of the decision making process to develop FBR technology in the beginning of the 1970s. MP Bataille emphasises the fact that succeeding governments were often not clear on the objective of the plant. Also, he criticises the influence of the industry on the decision making and notably the alarmist energy demand forecasts of the 1970s.

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