Thursday, February 22, 2007

Royal takes nuclear debate public

French socialist candidate Segolene Royal has promised to make the construction of a new "third generation" nuclear power plant in Flamanville a matter of public debate. This was announced by her eco-adviser and former Greenpeace leader Bruno Rebelle, who said that the decision for Électricité de France to build the plant was made "even before a public investigation."

Royal is in the difficult position of promising that 20% of French energy production will be by renewable sources by the year 2020, but also pledging to reduce dependence on nuclear power. Germany has faced a similar dilemma in its promise to phase out nuclear power by 2020. Sarkozy has avoided this by saying that he would promote nuclear energy.

Royal's comments drew hesitent praise from Greenpeace, an ever ironic situation because Royal's brother helped blow up the Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior ship that was protesting French nuclear weapons' tests in the Pacific.

This statement may also be a sign of more pledges for public debate. Although Royal's manifesto was deemed rather uninspiring, there is no denying that her initiative of public discussion online and in person has fueled her campaign to where it is today. She has already shown a willingness to consult the French during her potential presidency through her "citizens' juries", so this could possibly carry over into different fields of policy as well.

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