Quelle horreur – the plots thickens around the EDF scandal

Posted by nathan - 18 April 2009 at 4:42pm - Comments

On Tuesday morning I received a call from my colleagues in Paris inviting me to pop over and see them as they had had some worrying news that they needed to share. So the next day, long before the sun was stirring and the local rooster was warming his vocals, I was on my way to St Pancras heading for a lunchtime appointment in 20th Arrondissement. It turns out that the French state owned energy company Electricité de France (EDF), who have allegedly been spying on Greenpeace since 2004, are more involved in the scandal than it initially appeared.

On March 31, Greenpeace France discovered that its former campaign director's computer was hacked in 2006, and that the organisation had been targeted by the private investigation company Kargus Consultants under instruction from EDF. This was followed by quick denials and ambiguous statements claiming that EDF were in fact victims of circumstance, rather than maestros of a carefully orchestrated and deliberate effort to infiltrate and monitor the work of my French colleagues.

However, as the investigation has gathered momentum it has emerged that at least two contracts were signed between EDF and Kargus in 2004 and 2007 for the provision of "operational support for the ongoing strategic surveillance of environmental organisations and their activities and practices." And in 2004 Kargus invoiced EDF for more than EUR 13,000 per month. Make of that what you will. And more worrying is that official investigation files allege that EDF was also seeking intelligence on Greenpeace activities in the United Kingdom, Belgium and Spain.

And this would make sense. EDF have for sometime now been aggressively pushing the nuclear agenda here in the UK behind a veneer of green wash and nuanced nonsense about saving tomorrow, today. As they've sought to secure their business interests by buying up British Energy and simultaneously lobbied to undermine renewable energy, it's what they were doing yesterday that should have alarm bells ringing.

As it emerges they will go to any lengths to manipulate the debate, just what is it about nuclear power they don't want you to know? 

Guys .. Surely this is no surprise is it ? Greenpeace god bless you are a very good tool in the world today and so with that comes the magnet syndrome because of your high profile stance in very emotive issues you will be by virtue of this attract the interest of climate criminals big and small national and internationally in conventional and as in this case unconventional means please open your eyes before it is too late. The French government had you in their sights years ago so what makes any other countries agencies sterile of interest in you and the great organisation. Intelligence is a wonderful thing when used correctly from both sides but who said this issue was fair other than you ? If this is so explosive now what makes you feel safe believing nothing like this has happened on such a large scale before and potentially in the future ?

Wake up Greenpeace

Thanks for your comment, Uncle. Obviously we disagree with you, for what we feel are cogently argued and compelling reasons.

Briefly, here's a run-down of why nuclear new build can't keep the lights on and actually threatens our ability to reduce our carbon emissions:

• Even if Britain built ten new reactors, nuclear power can only deliver a 4 per cent cut in carbon emissions some time after 2025. Even the Government admits this (Sustainable Development Commission figure). It's too little too late at too high a price.

• Most of the gas we use is for heating and hot water and for industrial purposes. Nuclear power cannot replace that energy. And it's a similar case for oil as it's virtually all used for transport - nuclear power can't take its place.

• Indeed, 86 per cent of our oil and gas consumption is for purposes other than producing electricity. So nuclear power, which can only generate electricity, is almost irrelevant.

• The real solutions to the energy gap and climate change are available now. Energy efficiency, cleaner use of fossil fuels, renewables and state of the art decentralised power stations like they have in Scandinavia. Together they have the potential to deliver reliable low carbon energy quicker and cheaper. They are also safe and globally applicable, unlike nuclear. But these technologies will be strangled if cash and political energy get thrust at nuclear power.

• Gordon Brown recently committed the UK to generating around 40 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2020. If he means it, Britain could become a world leader in clean energy and his case for nuclear evaporates. At the moment Germany has 300 times as much solar power and 10 times as much wind power installed as the UK and has given up on nuclear.

• Margaret Thatcher promised 10 new reactors when she was in power. Just one was built. Going for nuclear allows politicians to project the impression that they are taking difficult decisions to solve difficult problems. In reality going for nuclear simply will not solve our energy problems. Other low carbon technologies will.

For more detail, download our briefing 'The case against nuclear power' (Adobe PDF format)

Cheers,

Joss
GPUK webteam

Glad to see you kept your carbon foot print low by taking the EuroStar rather than flying to Paris. Perhaps you should bear in mind that it is an especially low carbon form of transport thanks to EDF's Nuclear electricity. P.S. I don't work for Kargus or EDF. It's simply a matter that your Anti-Nuclear stance is rotten with dis-information and does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

Yep see what I mean, almost every point misleading or just plain untrue.

I have to agree with you, Jossc. Even if nuclear could help reduce our collective carbon footprint, (Which it can't, as you've shown) it still carries the terrible danger of an accident. The very idea that a corporation would spy on Greenpeace apalls me, and as you've said, what is it that they are so desperate to hide?

Hang on a minute, Uncle, correct me if I'm wrong but last time I looked just calling something 'untrue' didn't constitute effective criticism - you're supposed to supply some kind of logical argument and supporting evidence, as I recall.

I've supplied a link to the in-depth analysis behind our opposition to new nuclear plants - feel free to critique it.

Cheers,

Joss

OK Joss you have my attention, though I would rather sit in the garden.
Point 1) The SDC lead by Jonathan Poritt did produce a document suggesting a low level of Co2 saving against the entire energy spectrum based on 10 new reactors. This would simply replace the exising ones so no big gain but overlooking the 10% increase if they are not built. The current proposals point toward more reactors up to baseload.
The private companies currently bidding for sites do not seem to be put off by the price they are offering 10 times the figure expected for the land in the auction bids.
Points 2&3) The electricty sector accounts for 37% of the UK's Co2 emissions mostly from coal and gas not oil. Nuclear can also supply electricty for transport, your Eurostar trip, electic cars and vans charging overnight and domestic heating by storage. I wonder where that idea of resurecting 'Economy 7' came from.
Point 4)Wind and other renewables have to be balanced in frequency and voltage to provide a stable electricty supply you cannot do this with decentralised CHP schemes. CHP primarily drives a heat load with electricity as a by product not the other way round. The UK has a higher percentage CHP than Sweden already, mostly Industrial with constant loads which can acheive high efficienies @ 95% CHP district heating shemes do not present constant loads so will not achieve that efficiency and do not compare well to the 92% efficiency of the latest domestic heating boilers with CCGT for electricty (Source OIES). Copenhagen has had a district heating scheme since the 1930's mostly driven by coal and waste incineration but lets not go there. There is no prospect of digging up streets here at immense cost for no benefit. Being up front Nuclear Power is not much use for balancing renewables either being a baseload generator which is why we cannot go the way of France as we don't have connections to sell excess to Europe. We need Hydro and CCGT for that. Sweden achieves 30% lower Co2 per capita from the EU average by a 50/50 Nuclear/Hydro split.
Point 5) Gordon Brown, yes we need all of these things though I doubt 40% is achievable with known technologies. Germany has 25% installed capacity of wind/solar power but only gets 5% output. The 300% of solar voltaic came about because the feed in tariff of @ 10 times the busbar cost of electricty has provided well off Germans with a nice little earner by installing panels on their houses and selling the power back, guess who pays, the not so well off Germans via their electricity price.
In any case this expenditure has not helped reduce German Co2 figures, Denmark likewise, see the International Energy Agency or Eurostat for the numbers. Hold your breath Angela Merkel would drop the Nuclear phaseout as quick as a wind turbine blade throw if her government was not held hostage by German Greens.
Point 6) Magaret Thatcher did put forward the build of more Nuclear power but then privatised the electricity industry who prefered quick profits by squandering our North Sea Gas at (then) cheap prices. If she had built them we wouldn't be in this fix now.
Nuclear Part Of The Answer.

I agree with Uncle. Nuclear is part of the solution, and opposition to it is simply advocacy for burning more fossil fuel.

Have a good read of David MacKay’s acclaimed book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air (free download) to get an impression of what is required to replace fossil fuel. We need all the renewables and all the nuclear we can get:

http://www.withouthotair.com/

Saying that nuclear “only” delivers electricity simply does not cut it as an argument. Electricity can, and should, be used for transport. It can, and should, be used for heating, by powering heat-pumps. Nuclear heat could even be used for district heating (as it is in Switzerland), although it is probably more efficient and flexible to use electric heat-pumps instead.

Greepeace’s current energy policy is flat-out support for burning fossil fuel (natural gas). It is not consistent with their alleged concern about climate change. Not only that, but kWh for kWh, burning natural gas or biomass is an order of magnitude more harmful to health and the environment than nuclear power. Look at the ExternE study for deaths per TWh:

http://manhaz.cyf.gov.pl/manhaz/strona_konferencja_EAE-2001/15%20-%20Pol...

Guys .. Surely this is no surprise is it ? Greenpeace god bless you are a very good tool in the world today and so with that comes the magnet syndrome because of your high profile stance in very emotive issues you will be by virtue of this attract the interest of climate criminals big and small national and internationally in conventional and as in this case unconventional means please open your eyes before it is too late. The French government had you in their sights years ago so what makes any other countries agencies sterile of interest in you and the great organisation. Intelligence is a wonderful thing when used correctly from both sides but who said this issue was fair other than you ? If this is so explosive now what makes you feel safe believing nothing like this has happened on such a large scale before and potentially in the future ? Wake up Greenpeace

Thanks for your comment, Uncle. Obviously we disagree with you, for what we feel are cogently argued and compelling reasons. Briefly, here's a run-down of why nuclear new build can't keep the lights on and actually threatens our ability to reduce our carbon emissions: • Even if Britain built ten new reactors, nuclear power can only deliver a 4 per cent cut in carbon emissions some time after 2025. Even the Government admits this (Sustainable Development Commission figure). It's too little too late at too high a price. • Most of the gas we use is for heating and hot water and for industrial purposes. Nuclear power cannot replace that energy. And it's a similar case for oil as it's virtually all used for transport - nuclear power can't take its place. • Indeed, 86 per cent of our oil and gas consumption is for purposes other than producing electricity. So nuclear power, which can only generate electricity, is almost irrelevant. • The real solutions to the energy gap and climate change are available now. Energy efficiency, cleaner use of fossil fuels, renewables and state of the art decentralised power stations like they have in Scandinavia. Together they have the potential to deliver reliable low carbon energy quicker and cheaper. They are also safe and globally applicable, unlike nuclear. But these technologies will be strangled if cash and political energy get thrust at nuclear power. • Gordon Brown recently committed the UK to generating around 40 per cent of our electricity from renewables by 2020. If he means it, Britain could become a world leader in clean energy and his case for nuclear evaporates. At the moment Germany has 300 times as much solar power and 10 times as much wind power installed as the UK and has given up on nuclear. • Margaret Thatcher promised 10 new reactors when she was in power. Just one was built. Going for nuclear allows politicians to project the impression that they are taking difficult decisions to solve difficult problems. In reality going for nuclear simply will not solve our energy problems. Other low carbon technologies will. For more detail, download our briefing 'The case against nuclear power' (Adobe PDF format) Cheers, Joss GPUK webteam

Glad to see you kept your carbon foot print low by taking the EuroStar rather than flying to Paris. Perhaps you should bear in mind that it is an especially low carbon form of transport thanks to EDF's Nuclear electricity. P.S. I don't work for Kargus or EDF. It's simply a matter that your Anti-Nuclear stance is rotten with dis-information and does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

Yep see what I mean, almost every point misleading or just plain untrue.

I have to agree with you, Jossc. Even if nuclear could help reduce our collective carbon footprint, (Which it can't, as you've shown) it still carries the terrible danger of an accident. The very idea that a corporation would spy on Greenpeace apalls me, and as you've said, what is it that they are so desperate to hide?

Hang on a minute, Uncle, correct me if I'm wrong but last time I looked just calling something 'untrue' didn't constitute effective criticism - you're supposed to supply some kind of logical argument and supporting evidence, as I recall. I've supplied a link to the in-depth analysis behind our opposition to new nuclear plants - feel free to critique it. Cheers, Joss

OK Joss you have my attention, though I would rather sit in the garden. Point 1) The SDC lead by Jonathan Poritt did produce a document suggesting a low level of Co2 saving against the entire energy spectrum based on 10 new reactors. This would simply replace the exising ones so no big gain but overlooking the 10% increase if they are not built. The current proposals point toward more reactors up to baseload. The private companies currently bidding for sites do not seem to be put off by the price they are offering 10 times the figure expected for the land in the auction bids. Points 2&3) The electricty sector accounts for 37% of the UK's Co2 emissions mostly from coal and gas not oil. Nuclear can also supply electricty for transport, your Eurostar trip, electic cars and vans charging overnight and domestic heating by storage. I wonder where that idea of resurecting 'Economy 7' came from. Point 4)Wind and other renewables have to be balanced in frequency and voltage to provide a stable electricty supply you cannot do this with decentralised CHP schemes. CHP primarily drives a heat load with electricity as a by product not the other way round. The UK has a higher percentage CHP than Sweden already, mostly Industrial with constant loads which can acheive high efficienies @ 95% CHP district heating shemes do not present constant loads so will not achieve that efficiency and do not compare well to the 92% efficiency of the latest domestic heating boilers with CCGT for electricty (Source OIES). Copenhagen has had a district heating scheme since the 1930's mostly driven by coal and waste incineration but lets not go there. There is no prospect of digging up streets here at immense cost for no benefit. Being up front Nuclear Power is not much use for balancing renewables either being a baseload generator which is why we cannot go the way of France as we don't have connections to sell excess to Europe. We need Hydro and CCGT for that. Sweden achieves 30% lower Co2 per capita from the EU average by a 50/50 Nuclear/Hydro split. Point 5) Gordon Brown, yes we need all of these things though I doubt 40% is achievable with known technologies. Germany has 25% installed capacity of wind/solar power but only gets 5% output. The 300% of solar voltaic came about because the feed in tariff of @ 10 times the busbar cost of electricty has provided well off Germans with a nice little earner by installing panels on their houses and selling the power back, guess who pays, the not so well off Germans via their electricity price. In any case this expenditure has not helped reduce German Co2 figures, Denmark likewise, see the International Energy Agency or Eurostat for the numbers. Hold your breath Angela Merkel would drop the Nuclear phaseout as quick as a wind turbine blade throw if her government was not held hostage by German Greens. Point 6) Magaret Thatcher did put forward the build of more Nuclear power but then privatised the electricity industry who prefered quick profits by squandering our North Sea Gas at (then) cheap prices. If she had built them we wouldn't be in this fix now. Nuclear Part Of The Answer.

I agree with Uncle. Nuclear is part of the solution, and opposition to it is simply advocacy for burning more fossil fuel. Have a good read of David MacKay’s acclaimed book Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air (free download) to get an impression of what is required to replace fossil fuel. We need all the renewables and all the nuclear we can get: http://www.withouthotair.com/ Saying that nuclear “only” delivers electricity simply does not cut it as an argument. Electricity can, and should, be used for transport. It can, and should, be used for heating, by powering heat-pumps. Nuclear heat could even be used for district heating (as it is in Switzerland), although it is probably more efficient and flexible to use electric heat-pumps instead. Greepeace’s current energy policy is flat-out support for burning fossil fuel (natural gas). It is not consistent with their alleged concern about climate change. Not only that, but kWh for kWh, burning natural gas or biomass is an order of magnitude more harmful to health and the environment than nuclear power. Look at the ExternE study for deaths per TWh: http://manhaz.cyf.gov.pl/manhaz/strona_konferencja_EAE-2001/15%20-%20Pol...

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