Nuclear: the two presidential finalists are not equal

Home     Presidential elections 2022     Nuclear: the two presidential finalists are not equal
Published on 22/04/2022

Taking a very pro-nuclear stance is not enough to guarantee good conditions for nuclear’s development, nor does it allow for an effective fight against global warming. Indeed, the positions of Marine Le Pen are contrary to those objectives.

Being pro-nuclear does not mean being anti-renewable. If we want to achieve our decarbonization objectives, a mix of the two, evolving over time, will even be essential.

Announcing the dismantling of wind turbines, or even a policy not to replace existing wind farms in the short term, goes against these objectives. It is as absurd, in that regard, as shutting down operational nuclear reactors prematurely, as was the case with those at the Fessenheim power plant, or constantly postponing the construction of new reactors to replace retiring ones and get back margins for dispatchable and low-carbon capacity.

Regarding Fessenheim, the arguments put forward by Emmanuel Macron are wrong. Significant work had been undertaken at Fessenheim, the fact that its closure has become unavoidable is a self-fulfilling prophecy, the plant was safe, and its shutdown was indeed purely a political decision.

If Emmanuel Macron became convinced only recently of the vital importance of initiating construction of new nuclear units in France and  the fundamental role of nuclear power in the long-term energy mix, Marine Le Pen came to the same conclusion not that much earlier.  Indeed, her 2012 platform called for using nearly a third of agricultural land to produce biofuels and indicated the desirability of ultimately phasing out nuclear power.

The current platform of the National Rally (Le Pen’s party), tinged with climate scepticism, includes maintaining fossil fuel subsidies over the long term without conditions.

It thus de facto favours, during the period before a new French nuclear fleet can be deployed, using more natural gas rather than continuing the deployment of renewable energy. Using more natural gas would have a harmful effect both on the climate and on the energy sovereignty of the France.

Marine Le Pen wants a “slower” energy transition, but it is nuclear power in particular that would make it possible to accelerate and succeed in this transition in all energy sectors, and achieve and maintain carbon neutrality from 2050 on.

On the international level, the positions of Marine Le Pen, her disregard for European and international institutions and multilateralism imply a weakening of European politics and French diplomacy.

Such a situation would deprive France of its influence and we would eventually be obliged to accept the major energy policies and models chosen by others, that would be directly and indirectly imposed on us.

This isolation and radicalization of positions would harm France and penalize its projects, including those involving nuclear power and the fight against climate change, since multilateralism is essential to the implementation of solutions on a global scale.

Voices of Nuclear is a non-partisan association, and will remain so. However, we come together around a set of values, which you can find outlined here.

The Voices do not want “as much nuclear as possible”, but rather much more nuclear so we can free ourselves of fossil fuels. To succeed in a transition that must be low-carbon, democratic and inclusive. And Madame Le Pen’s program does not lead us there.