Académie des technologies

A century of nuclear power generation – Michel Hug

A Century of Nuclear Power Generation, by Michel HUG

France occupies an extremely strong position in nuclear physics per se, and in its applications, notably in nuclear power generation. The monograph proposed by Michel HUG is an overview that non specialist readers can assimilate, i.e., if they are non specialists of the developments of the French nuclear generation industry. Michel HUG himself is one of the senior, prominent actors in the field, and he throws light on the issues and challenges of the technologies associated, of the hurdles that had to be overcome in terms of political and key-technology decisions. The author clearly demonstrates how important organisational decisions and human factors can prove when it comes to ensuring satisfactory planning of the infrastructures and their implementation, or the difficulties that met as the French nuclear programme progressed. Michel HUG also shows how important nuclear safety is – a fundamental parameter for the use of the nuclear generation option – of the choice made to have a highly homogeneous set of nuclear power generation stations. We can learn a lot from the monograph, given the current, renewed interest in nuclear power production, and the ambient debates on the theme of global warming and the predictable rarefaction of carbon-based energy resources, taking into account the fact that nuclear fuel resources extend for several thousand years.