France says 'absurd' to condemn nuclear energy out of hand

15th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

France will check all its 58 nuclear reactors in the wake of quake-hit Japan's nuclear crisis, but Prime Minister Francois Fillon insisted it would be absurd to condemn nuclear energy out of hand.

The checks are so that "everyone can learn the lessons" from Japan's nuclear crisis centred on the quake-stricken Fukushima atomic power plant, Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet told parliament on Tuesday.

Two more blasts and a fire rocked the Fukushima atomic power plant on Tuesday, sending radiation up to dangerous levels.

Fillon assured MPs that the government would deal with all questions arising from Japan's nuclear crisis, but added it would be absurd to condemn nuclear energy because of the accident.

"Each thing in its time. Today is the time for support for and solidarity with the Japanese people. Later on there will be time to go back over the experience," Fillon said.

"What strength earthquake can our reactors survive? What level of flooding can they deal with? We will check all of this, and we will do so with total transparency," he said.

"It's just as absurd to say that nuclear energy is condemned by this accident as to say that it does not concern us," he said.

France is proportionally the world's biggest user of nuclear power, with 58 reactors in 19 power plants providing around 75 percent of its energy needs.

© 2011 AFP

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