Kurt Zenz House lays out the reasons to both laud France’s insight 30 years ago to go nuclear, as well as be concerned:
So today, France looks rather smart. It acted decisively in the 1970s to limit its dependence on fossil fuels, and now it’s better positioned than any other non-oil-exporting power to deal with increasing fuel costs and global warming. Indeed, as the world tries to contain carbon dioxide emissions, France is likely to benefit enormously from its nuclear commitment because other countries will purchase French nuclear technology and expertise. The financial markets have taken all of this into account as AREVA’s market valuation has appreciated 300 percent in the last four years.
The catch is that France now produces enough plutonium in their civilian nuclear power activities to make about 10 nuclear bombs per week. This plutonium is transported 1,000 kilometers every week in armed convoys across the country from the reprocessing facility to the fuel-fabrication facility. That material is vulnerable to theft and could be used by terrorists to vaporize a small city.