Fearing Supply Gap, France Slows Nuclear Retreat

French President Emmanuel Macron said Tuesday that the country would retreat from its previous energy target of closing down 14 nuclear power plants by 2025 and openly suggested the country would pursue construction of new units to maintain the energy plan’s target of 50 percent electricity derived from nuclear power.

Emmanuel MacronThe retreat from nuclear power from about 75 percent of France’s electricity generation to 50 percent, which the policy previously aimed to accomplish by 2025, was not the beginning of the end of nuclear power in the country that relies on nuclear power more than any major economy in the world. “Reducing the role of nuclear energy does not mean renouncing it,” he said.

Instead of 2025 as a target for 14 nuclear plant closures -- out of 58 operating plants -- France would aim for 2035, Macron said in remarks meant to placate protesters upset of rising energy costs, according to various media reports.

Protesters include a faction called the “yellow jackets” who have adamantly protested rising prices in events, some of which have turned violent.

Macron sketched out the new closing schedule for plant closings. The first two would be the country’s oldest reactors at the Fessenheim facility. Close to international borders, the two plants that have become politically sensitive would be closed by 2022, Macron said.

After that, 4-6 plants would be shuttered by 2030, an additional two would be shut down in 2025-2026 with two more to close in 2027-2028. Closures, however, would be adjusted, Macron said, to ensure an ample power supply.

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  • Anonymous

    What France should actually do is to use some of its nuclear electricity to pyrolyze its urban and rural bio-waste into bio-methanol and to electrolyze water to make hydrogen in order to triple the production of bio-methanol from bio-waste.

    Natural gas power plants in the country should be converted to use the methanol to provide peak load electricity. The conversion process would be cheap and easy to do. The CO2 from the flu gasses from the methanol electric power plants should be recycled to manufacture even more renewable methanol.

    France should completely shut down its remaining coal power plants and add even more methanol electric power plants so the France's electric grid can become completely carbon neutral .


  • Anonymous

    This is stupidity. France is trying to shut down reactors while countries like Poland are considering building nuclear plants to reduce their carbon footprint from coal. Seems to me that they should do a "swap on paper." Poland simply buys the French reactors to be retired and calls it their own. If US colleges and universities can claim "carbon neutrality" by buying ownership in renewable sources hundreds if not thousands of miles away, why not pull this swap in Europe?