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Summary and extracts of the complaint filed by

Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy

against the French government’s decision

to shut down the Fessenheim nuclear power plant



The premature shutdown of a clean and environmentally friendly nuclear power plant without first replacing it with an equivalent clean, controllable power is absurd.


This shutdown is the result of a PS-EELV electoral conspiracy dating back to the end of 2011 (before the 2012 presidential election) to gain votes in exchange for the arbitrary closure of a nuclear power plant.


This agreement commits France and EDF to the early and illegal closure of the 2 reactors of the Fessenheim power plant, with major environmental consequences: massive increase in CO2 emissions and gas imports from Russia starting in 2020, and the continued operation of the Cordemais coal-fired power plant until 2026 and possibly beyond. This will result in significant risks of electricity blackouts that could endanger the population with serious economic consequences.


The same ideological and irrational electoral agreement schedules the closure of 24 reactors although intermittent renewable energies are incapable of compensating the loss.


Taking the path of reducing nuclear carbon-free steerable electricity generation capacity is just the opposite of the requirement to meet domestic needs, environmental challenges (global warming) and the expected development of electric transport, which will require more (not less) electricity.


This electoral trade-off was concluded for the sole personal benefit of the contractors, with total disregard for the general interest, on the one hand for electoral purposes (winning the elections) and on the other hand with a view to obtaining more MPs and ministerial posts. A totally illegitimate trade-off, because the power station does not belong to the State or to any political party, and even less to candidates for election. They have no right to dispose of it as they wish (even after the election).


These candidates then cited two fallacious pretexts purporting to justify the shutdown of the power plant: its age (Fessenheim being France’s oldest power plant in operation) and its location in a seismic zone. However, the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) considered that the Fessenheim power plant was perfectly fit to operate, both from the point of view of its industrial components and any risk of earthquake, for at least another 10 years (possibly renewable several times).


On 5 June 2018, the ASN considered that "the nuclear safety record of the Fessenheim site, in line with previous years, compares favourably with the average for the fleet".


There is therefore no objective reason for the early the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant.


So, we have a chain of cunning frauds and crimes - serious and shocking acts which will result in industrial mismanagement of more than €10 billion with compensation for EDF, its foreign partners and minority shareholders, not forgetting state aid to compensate for the economic and social disaster to come for the territory of Fessenheim and its surroundings. Unproductive expenditure which will be financed from public funds until 2041.


Article 434-1 of the penal code punishes: "anyone who has knowledge of a crime whose effects can still be prevented or limited, or whose perpetrators are likely to commit new crimes that could be prevented, from not informing the judicial or administrative authorities".


This media-political soap opera caused a loss of confidence among many investors (and thus a fall in the value of the stock), as well as great mistrust among the population (generating fear). The deliberate destruction of predominantly public property, without any valid industrial reason, is a direct consequence of petty political arrangements that constitute an abuse of social property.


The Fessenheim power plant could most probably operate another 60 years (or even 80...) in complete safety (like Beaver-Valley, the American reference power plant at the time of construction).


Some people claim that the development of a dismantling industry would be a great economic opportunity that should be urgently developed. This is as absurd as claiming to help the automotive industry by wilfully breaking down vehicles in good running order. Moreover, EDF already has experience of dismantling the same type of plant with the Chooz power station in the Ardennes, and will not learn much more by dismantling Fessenheim prematurely.


Why was this complaint not lodged earlier?


Because the power plant has not been shut down until now, the offences and plots detailed in this complaint were not reprehensible, as they had not yet been consummated, making it risky to file a complaint or denounce the criminal acts.


The preliminary investigation may indeed reveal that there has been an abuse of power over an EDF President in a weak position, since he was appointed and remunerated thanks to this appointment by the authorities, which then (for the previous president) or immediately (for the current president) demand from him the abusive shutdown of the power plant (contrary to the interests of EDF as well as France) through a clever process of artificial "legalization" a posteriori, once the power has been illegally seized as a result of this abuse of power and after appointing the appropriate people to ad hoc positions to enable the offence to be carried out. This case clearly falls within the competence of the BRDA brigade. The fact that the crime or the tit-for-tat is deferred in time certainly makes this forfeiture clever, but it remains a crime. The president of EDF knows perfectly well that the decision of premature closure of Fessenheim is completely contrary to the strategic and financial interest of the company EDF SA which he presides, but he was forced to accept it under penalty of either not being appointed or not renewed in his post. This is therefore a typical case of abuse of a person in a situation of weakness or dependence. It may also involve other conditional threats, which would then also be a criminal offence. The chairman of a board of directors has a duty to serve his company and to take and propose to his board only provisions that are favourable to the company he chairs. In this case he was in a weak position and, probably reluctantly and subject to various pressures, had to give in and ask his board to accept provisions contrary to the interests of the EDF-SA company he chairs. Everyone knows the preponderant weight of the opinion of the Chairman in office in a Board of Directors. The Board was very divided: six directors voted in favour, six directors representing the staff voted against, and the six representatives of the State had to abstain in accordance with the regulations. It was therefore the casting vote of the Chairman himself (under pressure), which tipped the decision.


During the 2012 presidential election campaign, a number of frauds were committed in connection with the criminal offence of purchasing and paying for votes "in kind" (in a deferred manner). French citizens, electricity users and minority shareholders of EDF are the victims and bear the brunt of this fraud, which is contrary to the interests of EDF SA and to the interests of our country at all levels (stability of the electric grid, energy independence, respect for the environment and the economy).


Clearly, acceding to power by taking possession of a property of the company EDF SA for personal and electoral purposes, for the purchase of votes against the interests of the Nation, is a form of astute crime repression.


The taxpayer and the consumer of electricity and petroleum products will ultimately pay for these cunningly concealed "campaign" expenses.


The apparent criminal offences are, to summarize,


1°) Abuse of company property. The small shareholders who have been deceived demand compensation for the spectacular loss of value of their share portfolio,


2°) Abuse of power and weakness over the Chairman of EDF in a state of weakness and dependence forced to an act prejudicial to the interests of his company,


3°) Illegal, concealed (deferred), abusive and "in kind" financing of electoral campaigns that have escaped the public accounts, with astute theft of the public good (illegal taking of interests).


Complaint registered by Bruno Comby for the Association des Ecologistes Pour le Nucléaire – AEPN (Environmentalists For Nuclear Energy - EFN).


Summary by Michel Gay.

Original document here.

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