France gets 80% of its electricity from nuclear power.
That about knocked me over. The French, not resilient to change, decided as a result of the Arab oil embargoes of the 70's and 80's not be held hostage to foreign oil, or at least not completely hostage, and entered into a pretty aggressive nuclear power plant construction program.
Over here, we got Three Mile Island (which was a scare but didn't hurt or kill anyone) and a pretty bad movie called "The China Syndrome" with Michael Douglas, Jack Lemmon and Jane Fonda which didn't kill anybody but scared the hell out of everybody and suddenly, no nuclear power plants for us. (Never been a big Jane Fonda fan though she was good in "They Shoot Horse, Don't They?" and "Klute" if you like really depressing movies. Like her brother and her dad.)
The Russians got Chernobyl but I think the French figured they could run a power plant better than the Russians so went ahead with their program.
So there you go. We haven't built a nuclear power plant in 30 years and the French are sitting there chugging along without an accident or incident and well on their way to energy independence. Who woulda thought it?
So what do we do? In the same seminar where I learned France gets 80% of their electricity from nuclear power I also learned the planning and construction of a nuclear power plant in the US is thirty years assuming no one demonstrates and tries to close the thing down. Guess we better get cracking.
Or come up with an alternative which I haven't seen much of. With everybody moaning about global warming I don't see a lot of people putting forth new ideas for reducing green house gases. The old 'turn down the thermostat' and 'put in more insulation' gets pretty old after awhile. I think we need to be more French.
For me, I am doing my part. Our new house will have solar water heaters. Well, it will once I figure out how to make them.
Vive la France.