Beyond Forest Fires & Ecological Disasters lays a bitter reality:
The extreme drought and heat wave that hit Europe in the summer of 2003 had enormous adverse social, economic and environmental effects, such as the death of thousands of vulnerable elderly people, the destruction of large areas of forests by fire, and effects on water ecosystems and glaciers. It caused power cuts and transport restrictions and a decreased agricultural production. The losses are estimated to exceed 13 billion Euro.
But what is really worrying is that the heat wave spelled trouble for France's nuclear reactors, many of which are cooled by river water. The plants return cooling water to the rivers, but only after it has cooled down to reduce the impact on the environment. In some regions, river water levels dropped so low that cooling process became impossible and plants had to shut down, while elsewhere the water temperatures after the cooling process exceeded environmental safety levels. An exceptional exemption from the legal requirements was granted to six nuclear reactors and a number of conventional power stations: The nuclear power plants of Saint-Alban (Isère), Golfech (Tarn-et-Garonne), Cruas (Ardèche), Nogent-sur-Seine (Aube), Tricastin (Drôme) et Bugey (Ain) continued functioning, although the upper legal limits were exceeded. Moreover, demand for electricity soared as the population turned up air conditioning and refrigerators, but nuclear power stations, which generate around 75% of France's electricity, operated at a much reduced capacity. In order to conserve energy for the nation, France (Europe's main electricity exporter) cut its power exports by more than half.
The outbreak of countless forrest fires cause by illegal disposal of rubbish comes to surface after the forrest is successfully burnt down... You can find all this what could be disposed much simpler by just driving to the citys official rubbish dump. But no, some fellars prefer to combine to good thing with the "useful": they take their rubbish from their home for a happy trip into the woods at the weekend, the rubbish is dumped somewhere in the forest and while take a nice walk.
When in the summer the temperatures are rising and the sun is shining strong, even empty bottles are working like a magnifier glass and can start a fire. not to mention the cigarette butt. With the right combination of wind and heat this rubbish than becomes the cause of a fire.
(several 100 photos to this issue...)
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