Paris – Voices of Nuclear are delighted with President Emmanuel Macron’s decision, announced February 10, to launch construction of a new fleet of EPR2 nuclear power units, up to 14 units. This historic decision will enable France to begin deep decarbonization of its economy with the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050.
But this is only the beginning. In the absence of large-scale carbon-free alternatives, many more than
14 reactors will be needed.
The decision to build 6 nuclear reactors, with an option for 8 more, is necessary to jump-start decarbonization of the economy. Building new reactors is the option that gives us the best chance to respond in a sustainable way to the increase in electricity demand, to build a low-carbon economy, to decarbonize transportation, heating, and industry in the coming decades, and the best chance of achieving the goal of carbon neutrality while limiting technology risk.
“This decision, which must now be developed and passed into law, is not just for the short term, but also for the long term, which is essential in an area as crucial as energy, on which our societies, our economies and our climate future depend,” according to Myrto Tripathi, President of Voices of Nuclear.
“We need a long-term vision to plan the construction of reactors and decarbonize all the energy we consume. For now – and France is the only G20 country that can say this – we have done it for electricity,” she adds.
After having responded to the consultation carried out by RTE (Ed note: the French electricity grid operator’s consultation on future electricity mix scenarios for France), “we decided to model the possibility of a mix with more than 25 nuclear reactors by 2050, along with development of renewable energy sources, to make it possible to revive France’s industrial sector and decarbonize our imported emissions. We intend to promote it enthusiastically,” she concludes.
Given the climate crisis and the low-carbon nature of nuclear energy, we also welcome the reversal of the political decision (Ed note: taken in 2018) to close 12 nuclear reactors by 2035, to close no further reactors capable of continued operation and to encourage their operation beyond 50 years’ lifetime.
The debate has only just begun, all the options are finally on the table.
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