Welcome to Politics and Economics of International Energy. One of our interviews today, the topic is nuclear energy, and I have the pleasure to introduce to you Professor Bertrand Barre, who is one of the faculty members of the master in International Energy here at the School of International Affairs at SciencesPo. Professor Barre has had a distinguished career in nuclear energy, he is a great expert recognized in France and internationally. So we are especially fortunate to have him with us today. I have prepared a few questions which I hope are the questions that each of you has in his mind when talking, discussing about nuclear energy. So to begin with, the first question is, is there a future for nuclear energy after the accident in Fukushima? After the accident in Fukushima, they've been very diverse reaction according to the countries. Outside of Japan, when Germany had a very drastic reaction by canceling its nuclear plants overnight and deciding to reverse to its previous philosophy of phasing out nuclear power by 2022. There has been a handful of other countries like Switzerland, Italy to some extent which without shutting down actually nuclear power, have canceled projects. But the vast majority of countries which were operating nuclear plants have decided to go on but to provide new cautionary measures to make this kind of accident less and less likely. But even more interesting, after Fukushima, a handful of countries which didn't have nuclear power before have decided to go. Poland, Bangladesh, Belarus, Jordan, Saudi Arabia. So if we make a balance somehow, the idea that the Fukushima accident will have certainly delayed what used to be called renaissance of nuclear power, but delayed by a couple of years. If we look at the very last release of the world energy outlook of the International Energy Agency, by 2040 they forecast an increase of installed nuclear capacity in the world by 60 percent as compared with 2010. So it is an increase, it is not the renaissance. Yes, because nuclear energy in the eyes of the International Energy Agency remains essential for mitigating climate change. Yes, it's probably the most powerful argument in favor of nuclear power today. They say that if indeed there is this increase of nuclear power by 2040, it will have canceled the equivalent of four-year of total world CO2 emissions. But ideally, if I understand correctly, in the scenario that they call 450 which is the one that would be needed to keep the increase in temperature only to two degrees, nuclear energy would be even more important than that. Yes. But sadly enough, this scenario is no longer attainable today. The two degrees are out. Let's just hope that it will not be too much above the two degrees. But if we wanted to get to the two degrees, nuclear power should be still capable of producing 14 percent of the world's total electricity by 2035. So this is no longer probably possible. What are the consequences of the accident in Fukushima? Because the accident took place at the same time as Tsunami and the Tsunami caused tens of thousands of deaths, perhaps in the minds of many people the two things put together, the Tsunami and the accident, but it's the Tsunami that was very deadly, right? Oh, that's right. In some newspaper, you read that the accident had killed 20,000 people, of course not. The earthquake and the Tsunami did. But the accident itself did kill three people which were in fact crushed during the accident not linked to radioactivity. The evacuation of people did also create a number of dead, an additional dead maybe as high as 1,500. The very long-term effect of radiation as seen from today should not be dishonorable at all not because of the early evacuation. So in fact, the accident in terms of fatality is negligible. In terms of evacuation of people, of losses during the evacuation, in terms of condemned land for a number of years, that's not negligible at all. Okay. The land is condemned in what sense? For how long it will be impossible to inhabit or reside or utilize the land? Some of the early places which were evacuated within the 30 kilometers radius of the plant, half already has a right to come back. So it will depend, some of the most contaminated places especially deep in forest will be very difficult to decontaminate, but people don't live seven days per week in the forest. In the forest. So all in all, let say that by 30 to 40 years from now the impact would be extremely reduced. But some places will be very very long to be decontaminated. The nuclear power plant that had an accident in Fukushima was a very old one, right? Yes, the four plants which had this accident where the oldest one went into operation in 71. Seventy one. The earliest of the damage plant I guess 77 or 78. So they were old plants and they were well-protected against earthquake, but they were not adequately protected against the tsunami. Tsunami. So when the earthquake struck, immediately the plant shut down as was expected from them, but the lines from the plant to the network were destroyed. So the plant had no longer external access to power, but the emergency diesel started as expected. So for maybe 40 minutes the people there thought they had escaped the biggest earthquake known in the region. Then the Tsunami arrived and it flooded the emergency diesel, it destroyed the tanks which powered the diesel, they clogged the water entry, and also flooded the batteries. So almost suddenly the plants were deprived of all power-. All power. outside an emergency, and add even some difficulties in pumping water. As you know the difficulty with the nuclear plant is that when you shut down the plant, you shut down only the chain reaction, you absorb the neutrons, but all the radioactive material which has been produced within the core go on decaying and in this radioactive decay, it releases some heat. So you shut down the plant, but you still have some production of heat which has to be cooled.