French nuclear: Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher advocates an increase in the number of EPR reactors

A few weeks before the presentation of the bill relating to energy sovereignty, the executive is marking the ground for an increase in EPR reactors on French territory

French nuclear: Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher advocates an increase in the number of EPR reactors

A few weeks before the presentation of the bill relating to energy sovereignty, the executive is marking the ground for an increase in EPR reactors on French territory. Since the Belfort speech of February 2022, in which Emmanuel Macron announced the relaunch of nuclear power, the government has implemented a program of six new EPRs and eight as options. The Head of State had already opened the door in December to an announcement on these eight additional reactors “in the coming months”.

Almost a month after this release, the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, drives home the point in an interview with the Tribune Sunday, January 7: “We need nuclear power beyond the first six EPRs since the fleet "historic will not be eternal", she declared to the weekly, according to which the text which will be presented to the Council of Ministers recognizes these eight reactors but does not give precise objectives for the development of renewable energies by 2030 .

The drafting of the text “remains technologically neutral,” assured Ms. Pannier-Runacher, according to whom, to reduce the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix in France from more than 60% to 40% in 2035, “it is a matter of to undertake, after 2026, “additional constructions representing 13 gigawatts”. A power which corresponds “to the power of eight EPRs, without setting this or that technology in stone”, affirmed the minister.

Nuclear fuel recycling infrastructure under discussion

The text, however, "breaks with the previous programming law, which reduced the share of nuclear power in the electricity mix to 50% by 2025", said the minister who did not close the door to the fact of go even further, qualifying an objective beyond these fourteen EPR reactors as a “good subject for discussion with parliamentarians”.

Among the other measures included in this bill, the minister mentions two sections devoted to "price regulation" and "consumer protection", which notably provide for the obligation for suppliers to "transmit a monthly schedule and a annual estimate at each contract change”, as well as faster sanctions for “rogue suppliers”.

Furthermore, the minister indicated that the question of nuclear fuel recycling infrastructure would be on the menu of the next Nuclear Policy Council (NPC), scheduled for January, not excluding “building new capacities”.