The National Assembly begins the examination of the nuclear acceleration bill

This is another bill that faces determined opponents. The National Assembly on Monday began examining the nuclear acceleration bill, fraught with controversy over the reform of the safety of this still sensitive sector, against which hundreds of people demonstrated near the Palais Bourbon .

With this text to facilitate the construction of six new EPR reactors by 2035, “it is neither more nor less the thread of the greatest French industrial adventure since the 1970s that we are renewing”, affirmed the Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher. Against fossil fuels, “accelerating renewable energies is being an ecologist. Reviving our nuclear industry means being an environmentalist,” she said.

The deputies have four days to study the 650 amendments to this text. In a news still agitated by the pension reform, the government is counting on the traditional support of the right for the atom for an adoption without too many difficulties at first reading, after the very broad vote of the Senate at the end of January. This text is “in no way the big night”, but “has the merit of putting nuclear power back at the center of the discussions and of our energy mix”, underlines the deputy LR Jérôme Nury.

Protests up to the majority

But the opponents of nuclear power, EELV and LFI, intend to rely on two recent events to inflame the debates: the “significant” crack revealed in the piping of a reactor at the Penly power station (Seine-Maritime), and the disappearance announced by the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), technical expert, that the executive wants to merge into the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN), the policeman of the power stations.

The government added the reform of nuclear safety by a simple amendment, adopted by the deputies in committee. But it arouses the ire of the IRSN unions as well as the ASN, the left, and protests even in the majority. The inter-union of the Institute organized a new day of strike Monday and a demonstration near the Assembly. Hundreds of IRSN agents from Paris, Marseilles and Cherbourg marched to the Invalides, with slogans such as “IRSN dismantled, nuclear safety sold off” and “the relaunch of nuclear power in defiance of security”.

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