After years of backing away from nuclear power, France suddenly wants to build six huge reactors.
This week Le Monde reported that the government asked EDF, the country’s main state-controlled energy company, to work up plans to build three new nuclear plants, each with a pair of its EPR reactors. The third-generation design produces enough electricity to supply 1.5 million people, and automatically shuts down and cools in the event of an accident.
It doesn’t appear that any developments are final—or even funded—at this stage. But energy experts were surprised by the news because it seemed to suggest France is adjusting its stance on nuclear. Plus early efforts to build the same style of pressurized-water reactor have been plagued with cost overruns and repeated delays, according to technologyreview.com.
Officially, France has not decided to build new EPR reactors, and the debate is still open. The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, simply asked EDF to submit, by mid-2021, a complete file, to be able to make a decision on this thorny subject, wrote Le Monde.