Does France’s emphasis on nuclear power guarantee its energy independence? – by Alison Hird (RFI France – March 23, 2022)

As the Ukraine crisis continues to push fuel prices up, France’s championing of nuclear power as a way of ensuring its energy sovereignty sounds great. But a group of researchers says it’s a red herring given France imports all its uranium.

President Emmanuel Macron announced late last year that France would begin building new nuclear plants. “To guarantee France’s energy independence and achieve our objectives, in particular carbon neutrality in 2050, we will for the first time in decades relaunch the construction of nuclear reactors in our country,” Macron said.

He later confirmed France would build up to 14 new nuclear reactors “as part of the renaissance of the French nuclear industry”.

Energy sovereignty

France is a bastion of nuclear power, deriving more than 70 percent of its electricity through its 56 reactors spread out in 18 nuclear plants.

Less reliant on imports of oil and gas than its EU partners, France is better placed to weather Russian threats of rocketing energy prices following EU and US sanctions over Ukraine.

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