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BUSINESS

EU needs to invest €500bn in new nuclear by 2050: internal markets commissioner

The European Union will need to invest 500 billion euros ($568 billion) in new generation nuclear power stations from now until 2050, the bloc's internal market commissioner said in an interview published at the weekend.

EU needs to invest €500bn in new nuclear by 2050: internal markets commissioner
France's new Flammanville 3 reactor, which was supposed to start in 2012, is now unlikely to start before the end of 2022. Its initial cost estimate was €3.3bn. The latest estimate is €19.1 billion. Photo: Charly Triballeau/AFP

“Existing nuclear plants alone will need 50 billion euros of investment from now until 2030. And new generation ones will need 500 billion!” Thierry Breton, a former French industry minister, told the Journal du Dimanche newspaper.

Breton also argued that an EU plan to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources for investment was a vital step towards attracting that capital.

The EU is consulting its member states on that proposal, with internal disagreement on whether the power sources truly qualify as sustainable options.

France has led the charge for nuclear power — its main energy supply — to be included, despite robust opposition from Austria and scepticism from Germany, which is in the process of shutting all its nuclear plants.

The proposal says the EU Commission “considers there is a role for natural gas and nuclear as a means to facilitate the transition towards a predominantly renewable-based future”.

Currently the bloc gets 26 percent of its energy from nuclear power, but Breton estimated that by 2050, that would be reduced to around 15 percent.

The proposal also states that for nuclear power, appropriate measures should be put in place for radioactive waste management and disposal.

And it calls for the building of new nuclear power plants to be conditioned on permits given out before 2045, while work to extend the functioning of existing plants would need to be authorised before 2040

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ENVIRONMENT

VIDEO: ‘Lost’ Orca whale heading up France’s Seine river

A young Orca whale that is apparently lost has been spotted heading up the Seine in northern France.

VIDEO: 'Lost' Orca whale heading up France's Seine river

The young whale was first spotted about a week ago near the port of Le Havre, around the Pont de Normandie, while the most recent sighting was further inland – about 20km from Rouen, in the Eure region.

France’s BFMTV managed to catch a video of the whale:

Experts think that the young male was separated from his group, and might be on the search for another. This typically happens when a matriarch in the pod dies.

“They are very social animals, so it is not easy for them to be alone,” explained Delphine Eloi of the Cotentin Cetacean Study Group (GECC) to RTL. Eloi went on to explain that the orca is likely in poor health, as its dorsal fin appears to be completely round. 

It is quite rare to see Orca whales around the coast of France, and much more rare to see them in the Seine.

But experts have reminded the public that the whale is likely not dangerous to people – there has never been a reported Orca attack on a human in the wild – though it is still advisable to keep a safe distance from it.

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