Nuclear Fallout Hits French Parliament

In a Khrushchevan shoe-banging moment all of his own an expelled-communist French deputy has scandalised a parliamentary committee on nuclear safety at a time of national angst over the Japanese reactor disaster.

"Will the ministers move their double parked cars"

As heroic Japanese engineers selflessly exposed themselves to dangerous radiation on Day 7 of the stabilisation struggle at Japan’s seriously damaged Fukushima nuclear energy plant, the maverick Maxime Gremetz, shocked deputies with a stream of intemperate and inappropriate interjections about … double-parked ministerial cars.

The incident as reported in Le Post drew adverse headlines in French media, hugely displeased deputies on the parliamentary science committee and exasparated two government ministers being questioned, together with the country’s top nuclear safety officials, at a committee hearing.

Gremetz burst into the committee room interrupted proceedings and complained loudly and at length that his car had been blocked in.

After several interjections enraged science committee chairman Claude Birraux thundered: “That’s enough! This is unworthy! With Japanese people risking their lives today, don’t come here and be a pain in the neck with your story about badly parked cars.”

Repeatedly ruled out of order and told to sit down and ‘shut up’ at one stage, the 71-year-old deputy totally ignored the uproar to continue with his interruptions for several minutes until the chairman was forced to suspend proceedings.

At one point in the televised version of the hearings, French Energy Minister Eric Besson can be seen saying it was most unlikely that the offending vehicles would belong to him or his colleague, the Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet because I am sure if that were the case :“ …the drivers would be sitting in the front.”

Maxime Gremetz, elected to represent the Somme in 1978 on a communist party ticket, but now an independent, has a reputation for erratic behaviour and is well-known for his apoplectic outbursts.

The nuclear disaster in Japan has provoked a national debate in France which is dependent for 80% of its power on 58 nuclear plants.

In this related development Prof Barry Brook, an environmental scientist from the University of Adelaide, Australia, talks about the impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident on the future deployment of nuclear energy.

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