France will build new nuclear reactors in order to meet its net-zero emissions target by 2050 and achieve greater energy independence. The French media, including Le Monde, reported that the country’s first new nuclear reactor construction plan in decades will be a major issue in the presidential election in April next year.
In a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the decision to build new nuclear energy reactors, adding it is investment to achieve energy independence and reduce carbon emissions, the primary driver of climate change. The Reuters reported that France will announce details about the construction of six third-generation EPR nuclear reactors as early as next week.
France is the largest producer of nuclear energy in European Union (EU), deriving over 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear energy. With nuclear reactors posing safety risks, however, former French President François Hollande implemented nuclear phase-out policy in earnest. When taking office in 2017, President Macron also pledged to reduce the share of nuclear in the country’s energy mix to 50 percent by 2035.
However, with natural gas prices skyrocketing around the world, there have been calls to slow down the transition to renewable energy. Le Figaro said President Macron has modified France’s energy plans after experiencing energy supply crisis. President Macron last month unveiled “France 2030” plan that will invest 30 billion euros in the development of small modular nuclear reactors (SMR), which reduce the risk of radiation leakage, and the expansion of hydrogen power generation.
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