Hi, I’m France and I have a nuclear problem.

Are you just slightly skeptical of people who bashed France 5 years ago, yet hold them up as a paragon of energy planning for having so much nuclear power?

From the folks at Beyond Nuclear:

The French Nuclear Medusa: Beyond Nuclear’s Linda Gunter has just returned from a fact-finding mission in France where she also spoke at a rally of 5,000 demonstrators in Paris on July 12 calling for a nuclear-free world. Watch for new updates on France on the French Connection page on our Web site. French speakers can also view videos of the rally here. During Linda’s visit, there were coincidentally – but not inappropriately – two accidents at nuclear sites both operated by Areva. Although the company tried hard to downplay the accidents, they represented a serious black eye for an industry anxious to hide its ugly under-belly from public view. When uranium leaked into the groundwater at Areva’s enormous multi-complex nuclear site – Tricastin – in southern France, operated by its subsidiary, Socatri, residents were rightly perturbed. It took more than 12 hours after the accident before the public was told not to bathe in or drink the water. The ban lasted two weeks during which frightened residents began to file suit – not only because of the unacceptable health risks they endured but also because their agricultural livelihoods were destroyed and the value of their homes rendered negligible. Testing by an independent French radiological lab found the presence of isotopes that likely leaked at an earlier date from the site’s nuclear weapons installation, casting doubt on the safety of the groundwater at all French nuclear facilities. The lab condemned the authorities for their delay in safeguarding the health of residents. After a second leak at a different nuclear facility in the area the same week, Areva chief, the Cheshire Cat-grinning Anne Lauvergeon, paid a visit to the community and assured the press and public there was no danger while bemoaning the fact that her company’s “transparency’” had led people to be unnecessarily afraid! However, since then, authorities have admitted that at least 100 workers at the Tricastin site were “slightly contaminated.” All of this occurred at the same moment that French president and nuclear salesman par excellence – Nicolas Sarkozy – took over the presidency of the European Parliament. He is expected to use his six-month term to heavily promote nuclear energy to his European partners. Further reports and updates from Linda’s French visit will become available soon.