What does 8599 failure mean for Pro


The day before yesterday I reported to you about the robust post I had received from the “Nuclear Forum Switzerland”. In the meantime, half of the Läderach chocolate bar with whole hazelnuts has been tasted. Thank you again, dear nuclear forum! The information also turned out to be extremely informative.

Facts, facts, facts, and question-like dollar signs

Yesterday, however, I withheld from you umpteen facts, at the sight of which the question marks shoot in the eyes like the dollar signs to our childhood friend Dagobert Duck from Duckburg.

One such fact is, for example, that China is currently building 21 nuclear power plants with a total output of 21,500 MW and is making plans for 38 more nuclear power plants. The Chinese could increase their total number of nuclear power plants from 35 to 94 and increase the total output of their nuclear power infrastructure from 31,364 to around 90,800 MW. Why not? With the increase in nuclear power, the proportion of energy from coal in the energy mix of the Middle Kingdom could decrease. In addition, the Chinese should not be banned from doing what has been considered opportune in our latitudes for decades.

And then there was France

France operates 58 NPPs, which together provide 72 percent of the energy supply. No other European country even comes close to achieving the * nuclear power * of the Grande Nation. So this is a kind of anomaly in the increasingly green European energy supply landscape. Why is that? I'll just go over a few guesses.

Messmer plan

There may be historical reasons behind the French preference for nuclear power. Wikipedia also tells me about the so-called Messmer Plan, which goes back to Prime Minister Pierre Messmer, who was in office in the early 1970s. France should increase energy production from uranium in order to become less dependent on energy imports. At the same time there was an atomic commissioner, an administrative office with 3,000 employees. According to Wikipedia, they are said to have been underemployed. The head of the commissariat, a certain Monsieur André Giraud, is said to have put one and one together and went to the full. In other words: He drove the construction of five nuclear power plants by 1975.

Fessenheim is the oldest, but also the weakest nuclear power plant in France.

The French head of state at the time, Georges Pompidou, was behind the expansion of atomic energy, especially since France was changing from an agricultural to an increasingly industrial society in the course of industrialization and, accordingly, not only the hunger for energy in the economy but also the number of people to be employed in the second sector increased . As a result, there was a real nuclear power boom: Between 1980 and 1986, 37 nuclear power plants were connected to the grid.

This development probably explains why nuclear energy is so important in France. But I wouldn't be me if I didn't investigate something unconventional in some way.

Regional culture according to Geert Hofstede

Isn't there perhaps a connection between the share of nuclear energy in a country's total energy production and its culture? By culture I don't mean so much literature, art, theater and the like, but the way in which people think, speak, act and live together. Geert Hofstede has devoted his entire research life to this topic, which is why we have well-founded data material on national cultures around the globe.

Hofstede captures the national culture in six dimensions:

  • Power Distance
  • Individualism / individualism
  • Masculinity
  • Uncertainty Avoidance
  • Long-term orientation / long-term orientation
  • Indulgence / pleasure friendliness

These dimensions make it possible, for example, to compare the national culture of France with that of Great Britain. Great Britain is suitable for comparison with France because the population of both countries is roughly the same and the gross domestic product per capita is at a similarly high level. This enables us to eliminate two influencing factors that, in addition to the country's culture, could also influence a country's tendency towards atomic cleanliness. The informative value of the national cultural comparison therefore increases.

Cultural dimensionFranceGreat Britain
Power Distance6835
Uncertainty Avoidance8635
Long-term orientation6351
Number of NPPs5815
Total output (MW)63 1308 918
% Total energy production7220

One dimension catches the eye, the aversion to uncertainty: The British cope relatively well with uncertainty. According to Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, France is considered a nation hostile to insecurity. In addition, Great Britain operates around four times fewer NPPs than France. Yes, and at this point there is a connection with the Messmer plan. Although this was also promoted in order to meet the growing energy needs of the economy, it was originally designed and initiated in order to reduce the dependency on energy imports. Dependence on imports means uncertainty about future energy supplies. Taking this into your own hands is typical behavior of nations that avoid uncertainty and control the future, as Geert Hofstede explains on his website.


France's national cultural inclination to avoid uncertainties promoted the Messmer Plan and, through it, led to a large number of nuclear power plants and an unprecedented share of nuclear energy in the total energy production of the Grande Nation.

Certainly, certainly. What you have just read is only of limited informative value. A comparison of just two countries cannot explain the world. It would probably take a statistical analysis across countless countries to make a generally valid statement. But at least the few highlights that this post has shed light on a coherent story. That it has a volume of more than 770 words was certainly not intended. Sorry, but I haven't had enough time to be brief. I should probably pay more attention to this topic ... for example in one of the next posts. Until then, goodbye to rereading!