Some pundits guess America, long known for her unique exceptionalism, is roughly 50 years behind the French in realizing that Western security is jeopardized by the reliance on imported energy. Abandoned by her last ally in resistance to Kyoto carbon emission cuts – with Australia signing probably the most overrated and greatly dysfunctional treaty in human history – the US is expected to revive its nuclear industry after 30 years of stagnation.
Now, given that most of the Anglosphere looks set to be dominated by the secular left in years to come there is no guarantee that the nuclear renaissance will succeed. So let’s look at France, which as a country with no own energy resources to speak of, can serve as a role model for achieving energy independence.
It is the only country where the political left has not opposed civil nuclear energy. Over the last fifty years, that has enabled France to excel as a beacon of nuclear electricity generation worldwide – producing 80 percent of its electricity supply that way. Secondly, France has an exceptionally strong cultural appreciation of scientific progress – expressed in popular high-speed trains and the supersonic Concorde. Thirdly, the trust in French public service officials, who tend to be trained engineers – rather than lawyers as typical in the US – helped to maintain public confidence in the nuclear program. And finally, the excellent security record of the French nuclear industry – usually attributed to synergies from central management, reactor standardization, a better learning curve and better homogenous training facilities for personnel.
These are the lessons to learn for the US, which will need 35 new reactors to meet surging energy demand by 2050. It’s time to forget about Freedom Fries and just say ‘oui’.