“No reason to make a mea culpa”: on nuclear power, François Hollande assumes his balance sheet
From the outset, François Hollande, auditioned this Thursday by the commission of inquiry “aimed at establishing the reasons for the loss of sovereignty and energy independence of France”, makes things clear while its energy policy is regularly criticized: “I have no reason to make a mea culpa. The mandate agreement concluded a few months before the 2012 presidential election between Europe Ecology the Greens (EELV) and the Socialist Party (PS) is the main subject of questioning.
It provided for the reduction of the nuclear share in energy production from 75% to 50% in 2025, and the gradual closure of 24 reactors out of the 58 in the French fleet. “The agreement included worrying provisions for the sector, assures the former President of the Republic. That’s why I didn’t take them back.” While in a previous hearing, his former Minister of Productive Recovery Arnaud Montebourg had denounced a François Hollande “entangled in his compromises”, this one assures “not to be committed by the agreement”, because “already a candidate at the time of the negotiation, I was not a stakeholder”. Of these provisions, he retained two: “The 50% by 2025, and the closure of Fessenheim with Flamanville in substitution. »
Remote duel against Sarkozy
However, he outlines two regrets. That of “not having succeeded sufficiently in increasing the share of renewable energies, while the profitability is proven and the prices extremely competitive. And “not having been able to obtain the opening of Flamanville”. A sine qua non condition for the closure of Fessenheim, it was initially to be commissioned in 2012. If the objective has not been achieved under his mandate, “by what horizon can we have 50% of the nuclear share in the electricity production ? he wondered. “I thought 2025 was possible, but it wasn’t. I understood that Elisabeth Borne is now talking about 2050.” And, satisfied, adds, “everyone therefore agrees that we need a substantial part of nuclear and a part of renewables with energy sobriety. »
Throughout his hearing, he hammers his position, displayed during the debate between the two rounds in 2012 against Nicolas Sarkozy. We must “keep nuclear power as the main source of electricity production, but also reduce its share as renewable energies increase. “Heared in the morning by this same commission, his predecessor condemned” the political opportunism “of the agreement concluded after Fukushima, in a period when” nuclear power was the subject of denigration worthy of the witch hunts of the Middle Ages ” .
François Hollande reminds him that “in the polls, 65 to 80% of our fellow citizens said they wanted a gradual cessation of nuclear programs over twenty to thirty years in favor of renewable energies”. And mocks his predecessor: “Under the mandate of Nicolas Sarkozy, no decision was taken to launch the construction of a nuclear power plant, the last was that of Jacques Chirac with Flamanville. »
In this remote duel with Nicolas Sarkozy, François Hollande is falsely surprised that he does not condemn the decision taken by Emmanuel Macron in November 2018 to close 12 reactors. “He could have angrily expressed his opposition to the announced closure and said to himself this is a questioning of the nuclear industry, but finally double standards…” To conclude, “it is not the nuclear model that is outdated, but that of the all-nuclear one”. This hearing concluded the work of the committee. The report is expected in the coming weeks.