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France will face a massive task when, inevitably, it must close and clean up its old nuclear reactors

FT 28th Nov 2018, If you think Britain has a tough job replacing its ageing fleet of nuclear
reactors, spare a thought for France. The world champion of atomic energy
is approaching a cliff edge in its electricity production.
The bulk of its fleet of 58 nuclear reactors was built in a remarkable 15-year burst of
construction in the 1980s and 1990s. France has not brought on stream a new
reactor for 20 years. Even if the lives of its plants were extended from 40
to 60 years, in itself an expensive proposition, 75 per cent of its nuclear
generating capacity would be gone by 2050.
The French government’s 10-year energy plan unveiled on Tuesday by President Emmanuel Macron was supposed
to set a clear framework allowing EDF, the monopoly nuclear operator, to modernise its fleet and for renewables to take a bigger slice of electricity production.
In the end, Mr Macron deferred many of the hard choices – but it was still a good result for EDF. One of the big choices was how quickly to scale back nuclear, which accounted for 71 per cent of electricity generation last year.
Environmentalists want faster decommissioning of older plants to encourage renewables. Some experts say
plants should be taken offline sooner rather than later, to avoid leaving EDF with the monumental task of decommissioning scores of them at the same time.


December 1, 2018 - Posted by | France, politics

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