Mycle Schneider
( 1997 , France )

...for serving to alert the world to the unparalleled dangers of plutonium to human life.

Nuclear power, far from being a fatality, is a choice. ... Plutonium production and use continue. I am nevertheless confident that it is possible to stop this completely autocratic activity.


Mycle Schneider was born in 1959 in Köln, Germany. He has been living in Paris area in France since 1981. Interested in the civil and military uses of nuclear energy and concerned that there was so little international information available in France, he set up an independent non-profit information and consulting service in 1983 and acted as its director until 2003. He has been working as an independent international analyst and consultant on energy and nuclear policy ever since.

Contact

Mycle Schneider
45, allée des deux cèdres
91210 Draveil
FRANCE
mycle@orange.fr
skype: mycleschneider

www.worldnuclearreport.org/
www.ieac.info/

Biography

Mycle Schneider’s key objectives have always been to develop and distribute high-quality information and analysis on the various sources and forms of energy; to increase public comprehension of energy issues, especially the impact of the civil and military uses of nuclear power on the health and security of present and future generations.

Mycle Schneider is the Convening Lead Author and Publisher of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report. (WNISR) The report has been released annually since 2007, has turned into a 300-page compendium of facts and figures, and is widely considered as a key reference on the issue. Fellow RLA Laureate Amory B. Lovins has called it “a vital public service”. The prestigious Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists features a permanent interactive data-visualization, the “Global Nuclear Power Database” on its website entirely developed by the WNISR team.

While nuclear issues remain a major focus, Mycle Schneider has always acted as a system analyst rather than a technician, and thus has been involved in many comprehensive energy policy projects. In 2013, at the invitation of the Mayor of Seoul, South Korea, he initiated the Seoul International Energy Advisory Council (SIEAC) advising the Seoul Metropolitan Government and acted as its coordinator until 2019. In 2014, he became the Founding Board Member and Spokesperson of the International Energy Advisory Council (IEAC), USA. Between February 2010 and June 2011, he acted as Lead Consultant for the Asia Clean Energy Policy Exchange, funded by USAID, with the focus of developing a policy framework to boost energy efficiency and renewable energies in six key Asian countries.

Between 2004 and 2009, he has been in charge of the Environment and Energy Strategies Lecture of the International Master of Science for Project Management for Environmental and Energy Engineering at the Ecole des Mines in Nantes, France.

The specific problem of weapon usable nuclear materials— plutonium and highly enriched uranium—has remain high on his agenda of his professional life spreading over more than 35-years. In July 2018, he was appointed to the Fissile Material Working Group (FMWG), hosted at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, Washington D.C. The FMWG is “a coalition of 80 civil society organizations from around the world working to provide actionable policy solutions to keep the world safe from nuclear terrorism”. Since 2007, he has also been an active member of the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM), based at Princeton University, USA. The IPFM is an independent group of arms-control and nonproliferation experts from 17 countries with the mission “to analyze the technical basis for practical and achievable policy initiatives to secure, consolidate, and reduce stockpiles of highly enriched uranium and plutonium”.

From 2000 to 2010, Mycle Schneider was an occasional advisor to the German Environment Ministry. In 2006-2007, he assessed nuclear decommissioning and waste management funding issues on behalf of the European Commission. In 2005-2006, he advised the UK Committee on Radioactive Waste Management (CoRWM) on nuclear security. Between 1998 and 2003, he was an advisor to the French Environment Minister’s Office and to the Belgian Minister for Energy and Sustainable Development. He was the Founding Director of the independent energy information service WISE-Paris between 1983 and 2003.

Mycle Schneider has given evidence or held briefings at national Parliaments in 16 countries[1] and at the European Parliament. He has advised Members of the European Parliament from four different groups over the past 30+ years. He has given lectures or had teaching appointments at over 20 universities and engineering schools in a dozen countries.

Mycle Schneider has provided information and consulting services to a large variety of clients including the European Commission, the European Parliament’s General Directorate for Research, the French Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Heinrich-Böll-Foundation, International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and many others. He is a frequent source for media representatives from around the world, including many TV and radio stations, electronic and print media.

[1] Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, UK, USA.

Mycle Schneider’s key objectives have always been to develop and distribute high-quality information and analysis on the various sources and forms of energy; to increase public comprehension of energy issues, especially the impact of the civil and military uses of nuclear power on the health and security of present and future generations.

Mycle Schneider is the Convening Lead Author and Publisher of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report. (WNISR) The report has been released annually since 2007, has turned into a 300-page compendium of facts and figures, and is widely considered as a key reference on the issue. Fellow RLA Laureate Amory B. Lovins has called it “a vital public service”. The prestigious Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists features a permanent interactive data-visualization, the “Global Nuclear Power Database” on its website entirely developed by the WNISR team.

While nuclear issues remain a major focus, Mycle Schneider has always acted as a system analyst rather than a technician, and thus has been involved in many comprehensive energy policy projects. In 2013, at th …

 
 

FAQ about Mycle Schneider

Questions asked in 2005

1. Do you foresee a renaissance of nuclear energy? 

In 2003, the wind power industry alone generated over 8,000 megawatts (MW) worldwide for a turnover of 8 billion euros ($10.5 billion), 12 times the capacity added by the nuclear industry to the power grids in the world that year.

But that’s anecdotal. The point is, beyond issues of belief and wishful thinking, independently of your opinion on nuclear power as such, nuclear reactors will not be able to make a major difference on climate change in the future because nobody orders them. And even if they were ordered, they would come in too late. We need solutions now! And as long as available energy-efficiency measures remain 4 to 7 times cheaper than nuclear power – in fact cheaper than most of the low carbon energy generating technologies – we should not remain stuck in a theological debate about nuclear power.

In reality, the nuclear industry is not even in a position to maintain the number of operating plants in the world. As we have shown in a recent report, the average age of the operating power plants is 21 years. We have assumed an average lifetime of 40 years for all operating reactors.

Considering the fact that the average age of all 108 units that already have been closed is equally about 21 years, the doubling of the operational lifetime seems rather optimistic. The exercise enables an evaluation of the number of plants that would have to come on-line over the next decades in order to maintain the same number of operating plants.

Roughly 80 reactors would have to be planned, built, and started up over the next ten years – one every month and a half – and an additional 200 units over the following 10-year period – one every 18 days. Even if Finland and France build a European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) and China went for an additional 20 plants and Japan, Korea, or Eastern Europe added one plant, the overall trend will be downwards.

With extremely long lead times of 10 years and more – the last unit to come online in the US took 23 years to build – it is practically impossible to maintain or even increase the number of operating nuclear power plants over the next 20 years, unless operating lifetimes could be substantially increased beyond 40 years on average, simultaneously raising significant safety issues. There is currently no basis for such an assumption. In fact, the Lithuanian reactor Ignalina-1, that was shut down on 31 December 2004, remains exactly on world average at age 21.

The relevance of nuclear power for the supply of commercial primary energy to the world is marginal with about 6% – tendency already downward. If you look at the share of final energy, that is the portion available for end-use after the losses in transformation and transport, nuclear power provides between 2% and 3% of the total.

Nuclear power is most likely on its way out. And it does not make a difference whether you like it or not.

(From http://www.utne.com/webwatch/2005_195/news/11620-1.html)

2. You describe plutonium production as an “autocratic activity”. What do you mean by that?

The plutonium economy is an authoritarian system beyond any democratic control. Furthermore, it does not have any corrective mechanisms that would allow severe strategic errors to be repaired. The most impressive illustration is the Japanese case: the official figure for the overall cost of 40 years of plutonium “fuel cycle” translated into a cost figure per gram of plutonium at least 40 times the current price of gold.

At the same time, the largest holders of non-military plutonium stocks in the world, BNFL and UKAEA in the UK and EDF in France have both allocated a zero value to these stocks.

3. You are a strong advocate of energy-efficient electrical devices. What can policy-makers do to promote their use?

There are countless possibilities what policy-makers could do in order to foster energy efficiency. The question is less to promote but to implement. The key point is the policy maker’s respective position in society. Each specific position allows for the implementation of specific measures. Let me name two examples:

Labelling of energy efficiency levels on electric household appliances has proven exceptionally efficient. Standards are set by national governments or supra-national institutions (e.g. the European Commission). But responsibility is also taken by the individual consumer. Energy efficient lighting, public and private, can be fostered by city councils, regional governments, electricity utilities and individual consumers. I’m still waiting for a city council or any other local authority to prohibit the sale of “Edison type” light bulbs on their territory. I believe it would be legally possible to enforce.

See also Amory Lovins:

Competitors To Nuclear: Eat My Dust

Nuclear Power’s Scorned Small-Scale Competitors Are Walloping It in the Marketplace

Publications

For more recent publications by/interviews with Mycle Schneider, and for the World Nuclear Industry Status Reports, please see

http://www.worldnuclearreport.org

Other publications by/interviews with Mycle Schneider:

Nuclear Power Made in France – A Model?
In: Nuclear Power’s Global Expansion: Weighing Its Costs and Risks.
Strategic Studies Institute – US Army War College, December 2010;
pp.189-277 (PDF and hard copy).

 

Reprocessing in France. With Yves Marignac, commissioned by the International Panel on Fissile Materials (IPFM). Princeton University, May 2008, 70 p.

Residual Risk – An Account of Events in Nuclear Power Plants Since the Chernobyl Accident in 1986. With Georgui Kastchiev, Wolfgang Kromp, Stephan Kurth, David Lochbaum, Ed Lyman and Michael Sailer, commissioned by MEP Rebecca Harms, May 2007, 116 p.

Summaries in English, French, German, 12 p.

The Permanent Nth Country Experiment – Nuclear Weapons Proliferation in a Rapidly Changing World. Commissioned by the Greens-EFA Group in the European Parliament. March 2007, 42 p.L’accès à l’information – un droit citoyen en mal d’application. Commissioned by Institut pour la radioprotection et la sûreté nucléaire (IRSN), February 2006, 12 p.

International Perspectives on Energy Policy and the Role of Nuclear Power. Edited by Mycle Schneider, Lutz Mez and Steve Thomas. Multi Science Publishing 2009.

Publications and interviews with Mycle Schneider on Fukushima

“Post-Fukushima nuclear allergy spreads in France”
The Japan Times, 19 April 2012
www.japantimes.co.jp/text/eo20120419a1.html

“Fukushima un an après: ‘La crise est loin d’être réglée'”
Interview avec Médiapart, 31 mars 2012
www.worldnuclearreport.org/Green-European-Journal-Belgium

“Routes de campagnes: Fessenheim et Toulouse”
Invité sur le plateau de Médiapart, 23 mars 2012
www.mediapart.fr/journal/france/230312/mediapart-2012-routes-de-campagnes (vidéo, 28 min)

“Fukushima a bouleversé notre rapport au nucléaire”
Interview et analyses avec Le Figaro.Fr, 9 mars 2012
videos.arte.tv/fr/videos/debat-6439130.html (video, 21:15 min)
www.arte.tv/fr/Video-Live-Chat/6439080.html (video, 52:58 min
videos.arte.tv/de/videos/debat-6439130.html (video, 21:15 min)
www.arte.tv/de/Video-Live-Chat/6439080.html (video, 53:08 min)

“Ein Jahr nach Fukushima – Was wird aus der Energiewende?”
Gespräch mit André Zantow, Wortwechsel, Deutschlandradio, 2. März 2012
ondemand-mp3.dradio.de (audio, 52 min)

Interview with Monitor, WDR-TV, “Ausser Kontrolle: Die brisanten Interna zu Fukushima”, 2011-04-07

Journalist, “Ich muss aufpassen, nicht aggressiv zu werden”, April 2011

Journal télévisé de TV5 Monde, Fukushima ou la fin du nucléaire”, 2011-04-07
Rue89, “Fukushima: “Distribuons de l’iode à la moitié du Japon”, 2011-03-26

Links