Law change in France will strengthen the role of nuclear energy

Law change in France will strengthen the role of nuclear energy

The current law, passed in 2015 and presented by President Francois Hollande as “one of the most important pieces of text of the five-year period”, pointed to a change in the model, in which it was about sober consumption and more renewable energy, a disadvantage of fossil fuel production and nuclear energy.

In 2019, the pledge to reduce nuclear power generation by 50 percent was pushed back from 2025 to 2035 by current President Emmanuel Macron, despite pledging to maintain the goals of the Energy Transition Act.

The proposal not only removes a ceiling that could now become a baseline amount to “maintain nuclear power above 50% of electricity generation by 2050,” but also changes the spirit of the norm that championed and creates clean energy the upper limit provided for in the law for the installed nuclear capacity.

The new wording adopted by the Senate Economic Committee can still be modified as it is also being debated in the National Assembly (lower house), but in principle the government and the right-wing majority that dominate the Senate want to open up the possibility of building new nuclear reactors (EPR2) without to build a defined boundary.

All of this also threatens the ongoing public debate on the creation of new EPR2 nuclear reactors, organized by a state advisory body, as the government intends to radically change the terms of regulatory permits, legal procedures and the framework of environmental democracy.

Currently, Flamanville is the only reactor of this type in France, still under construction, but with a 12-year delay and an additional cost of 10 billion euros.

mgt/acm