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Protest against EDF in the UK

French State owned (AREVA) uranium mine in Niger
Areva French uranium mine near Arlit Niger
Niger Uranium Mine

Based on translation of Sortir du Nucléaire press release, with our additional commentary in brackets:
Greenwashing for COP21: EDF lies will not save the climate!

At the approach of COP21 French State owned EDF, official sponsor of that event, launched a big publicity campaign to present itself as the “Official Partner of a Low Carbon World”. The campaign glorifies their electricity production, which they allege is 98% CO2 free, due to nuclear power.

To denounce this false advertising, the “Sortir du nucléaire” [Nuclear Exit] Network filed a complaint before the Advertising Ethics Jury and brought a civil liability suit against EDF before the Tribunal de grande instance of Pari [Paris Tribunal-Court]

EDF is not a “Low Carbon World Partner”!

In the context of the COP 21 world climate conference, being held in Paris [30 Nov to 11 Dec. 2015], EDF is trying to present itself as a virtuous player in the fight against climate change.

In reality, EDF operates 16 coal plants and is ranked the 19th worst greenhouse gas emitter in the world! EDF pretends to act “all over where [it] is present” for carbon free electricity. How can one not to be scandalized by that affirmation, when one knows that EDF’s world emissions represent 80 million tonnes of CO2 per year? [1]

EDF is lying: its electricity is not “98% CO2-free”!

EDF highlights its alleged “98% electricity produced in France without CO2”. Nothing indicates how they arrived at this figure, put forth to portray the French electric mix as “virtuous”.

Don’t be fooled: using climate protection as a cover, they are, above all, promoting nuclear power, which in 2013 accounted for 85% of the electricity production of the EDF group in France. [NB: EDF owns almost all of the UK’s nuclear reactors too.] EDF has already tried, notably in its advertisement “EDF in Alsace: Anchored in its territory” to vaunt nuclear electricity production as “100% CO2 Free”.

However, the Advertising Ethics Jury recently ruled that such an affirmation could mislead the public on the ecological reality of EDF actions. In fact, EDF focuses uniquely on its nuclear reactor emissions; in so doing it conveniently “forgets” to account for the non-negligible amounts of greenhouse gases during the different steps necessary for the functioning of nuclear power, both upstream and downstream (uranium mining, fuel production [2], nuclear waste “treatment”, etc. ) No study, even those conducted by the IAEA, indicates that the nuclear industry has zero CO2 emissions. A summary of 103 studies about this topic arrives at a median [half above-half below average] estimation of 66 g of CO2/kWh, some calculations put the amount at 288 g of CO2/kWh [3] [NB: At least some of this difference has to do with uranium ore grade, with lower grades taking more energy to extract. Nonetheless, even with high grades most is waste rock.]

Finally, focusing only on the CO2 emissions is a cover-up for the other environmental problems created by using nuclear energy, whether it is fallout from nuclear accidents, pollution from uranium mines or the accumulation of unmanageable waste. [Nuclear reactors legally leak lethal radionuclides into the environment on a routine basis, and lethal radionuclides are emitted during the entire nuclear fuel chain.]

It is unacceptable that the COP21 be used to promote nuclear power. Thus, the Network “Sortir du nucléaire” [Nuclear Exit] filed a complaint, once again, before the Advertising Ethics Jury. The hearing which initially was to be held before the Advertising Ethics Jury on the 6th of November 2015, was postponed to the 11th of December at EDF’s request. This postponement is convenient for the nuclear utility because it allows EDF to avoid a ruling which would irremediably incriminate its advertising in the run-up to the COP 21… an incrimination which already started with an opinion of the Advertising Ethics Jury, published on the 14th of October 2015, recognizing the complaint filed by the FNE [France Nature Environment] association against the advertisement “EDF, Official Partner of a Low Carbon World” which appeared in the newspaper “Les Echos”, as partially founded. [4].

With the strength of this opinion, the Network “Sortir du nucléaire” brought a civil liability suit against EDF before the Tribunal de grande instance of Pari [Paris Tribunal-Court]. In parallel, it is worth noting that EDF is one of the companies nominated for the Pinocchio Prize of the climate, in the category “Greenwashing” for its affirmation that its electricity mix is “98% CO2 Free”: http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/EDF-nominee-aux-Prix-Pinocchio-du-climat-et
[ http://www.pinocchio-awards.org http://www.prix-pinocchio.org ]
Greenwashing COP 21 Assignation (in French) http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/021115_assignation_edf.pdf
Greenwashing COP21 – Complaint (in French) http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/IMG/pdf/plainte_jdp_pub_edf_cop21_annexes.pdf
[1] Source : http://site.thomsonreuters.com/corporate/pdf/global-500-greenhouse-gases-performance-trends-2010-2013.pdf
[2] Fuel fabrication facilities emit not only CO2, but also nitrogen oxide, greenhouse gas with a global warming impact which is 40 times higher than CO2. The Areva factory at Malvési, near Narbonne, was notably just condemned for not having continually monitored its emissions: http://www.fne.asso.fr/fr/condamnation-d-areva-le-mepris-des-regles-environnementales-dans-les-sites-industriels-doit-cesser.html?cmp_id=33&news_id=14412
[3] Valuing the greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear power : a critical survey, Benjamin K. Sovacool, 2008 : https://www.nirs.org/climate/background/sovacool_nuclear_ghg.pdf
[4] The Advertising Ethics Jury has estimated that the expression “EDF, official partner of a low carbon world” was likely to mislead the public on the ecological reality of the actions of the advertiser, in breach of point 1.1 Recommendation “Sustainable development” of ARPP, and that it was not consistent with 3.3, 3.4 and 6.5 above of this Recommendation, failing to give sufficient details of the commitments made by the company as part of its partnership with the COP 21, in terms of reducing carbon emissions.
(The above is based on an unofficial translation of the original French Press Release: “Greenwashing d’EDF en prévision de la COP 21 : le Réseau “Sortir du nucléaire”porte plainte devant le Jury de Déontologie Publicitaire, Communiqué du 24 septembre 2015http://www.sortirdunucleaire.org/Greenwashing-d-EDF-en-prevision-de-la-COP-21-le Some additional information added in brackets; emphasis added.

EDF, electricity of France, is 85% French State owned, and, like Areva, can be constantly bailed out by the French taxpayer. Meanwhile it competes with private corporations on the international level – which clearly constitutes unfair subsidies and unfair competition. It even owns most of the UK’s nuclear reactors. It wants to build a new one at Hinkley Point in the UK, in apparent violation of the Espoo Convention, where countries which may be impacted should be consulted. EDF will be subsidized by the British taxpayer, too, with guaranteed fixed prices for its new nuclear reactors.

No more EDF Bullshxt protest against EDF in the UK: http://youtu.be/8ZyDuhaAUng

For those who love the music as much as we do – the above song seems to include at least part of the following group: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seize_the_Day_(band)

Translation note: The unofficial French to English translation was done by someone who is fully bilingual and earned university degrees from French and English speaking universities. However, it is not word for word, but approximate and retaining the sense. The original is always the original. A translation is always a translation.