France Takes Steps to Become New Energy Power

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France is changing its energy policy away from growth in renewable energy towards nuclear. The War in Ukraine has made energy prices rise in Europe, since renewables have not been able to meet the new demand.

The French Government is now pushing to open new nuclear power plants. The current fleet of reactors is beginning to age, and needs to be addressed early enough to prevent a gap. Reuters says:

France requires more than the six new nuclear plants currently planned and possibly needs to build more than 14 new plants, its energy minister said, just days before a parliamentary debate begins on the issue.

Speaking to weekly newspaper La Tribune Dimanche, Energy Transition Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher said it was vital to build more nuclear reactors and increase France’s renewable energy mix to reduce the country’s dependence on fossil fuels to 40% from 60% by 2035.

Since the 1973 oil crisis, France has been investing in energy independence. Without large fossil fuel reserves, the country has been heavily reliant on nuclear energy. It now wants to expand that to supply its neighbors. France24 continues:

The country became a leader in nuclear power generation after the 1973 oil crisis, building over 50 such power plants that produced around two-thirds of the country’s electricity.

The proposed text affirms “the sustainable choice of using nuclear energy as a competitive and carbon-free” source of electricity, and targets the construction of at least six but as many as 14 new reactors to pull off the transition to clean energy and meet climate change goals.

The United States has been shipping surplus energy to its European allies. The West in general is decoupling its energy supply away from Russia and the Middle East for geopolitical reasons.

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