Nuclear power will remain a key part of France’s energy supply, President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday in a demonstration of support for the industry even as he seeks to reduce the dominance of nuclear as a source of nuclear energy. ‘energy.
France has announced that it will reduce its dependence on nuclear power from 75% to 50% by 2035 and has yet to make a final decision on building next-generation EPR nuclear reactors.
This is due by 2023, when EDF’s Flamanville 3 EPR project is expected to be operational, but Macron has said he wants to speed up preparations by next year.
“The preparatory studies around the construction of new reactors are essential and I hope that they will continue and be completed in the coming months,” Macron said during a visit to the nuclear equipment supplier Framatome, a subsidiary of EDF.
EDF, plagued by delays and cost overruns on existing projects, has already announced its intention to unveil a new, cheaper version to build of its EPR nuclear reactor by mid-2021.
Macron nonetheless signaled broad support for the industry, although he stressed the need to shift more towards renewables. He said the next generation French aircraft carrier will be nuclear powered.
#FranceThe new aircraft carrier will be nuclear powered, President Macron announced, and will likely weigh 75,000 tonnes, slightly larger than QE-class ships and without the constraints of STOVL. They will carry the Rafale then a navalized version of #FCAS/#SCAF pic.twitter.com/z8ZrUA4uAj
– Tony Osborne (@Rotorfocus) December 8, 2020
“The nuclear industry will remain the cornerstone of our strategic autonomy,” Macron said.
Some environmental activists have denounced the policy, with Greenpeace calling nuclear power a “bogus solution” to climate change problems, saying it comes with costs that could be better spent on cleaner solutions.
France is the only nuclear power in continental Europe. Britain is also a nuclear power, although its relationship with the European Union – from trade to security – once it leaves the EU’s orbit on January 1, remains uncertain.