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France Bets On Nuclear, Hydrogen For Zero-Emission Power

France aims to become a leader in green hydrogen production and reinvent nuclear power by building a small modular reactor by 2030 as part of a wider $34.6 billion (30 billion euro) plan to decarbonize industry and slash emissions, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday.  

France currently gets around 70 percent of its total electricity from nuclear power generation and is a major exporter of electricity, including to the UK.

By the end of this decade, France will look to be a leader in green hydrogen production as it plans to build two massive factories for producing green hydrogen, Macron said. France’s nuclear power generation will be essential in producing green hydrogen, which is hydrogen produced from zero-emission electrolysis.

According to Macron, Europe’s renewable energy capacity will never be enough to produce enough green hydrogen for mobility, so France’s nuclear power generation will be a key enabler for green hydrogen.

France will invest the 30 billion euro to boost industry in line with pledges to cut emissions, according to the France2030 plan that Macron unveiled today.

France’s bet on nuclear power—unlike Germany’s decision to phase out all nuclear plants after the Fukushima disaster—has been vindicated in recent weeks as Europe’s natural gas and power prices hit record highs. The gas and electricity crisis clashed with the net-zero pledges of the European Union and the United Kingdom as some utilities were forced to fire up mothballed coal plants as natural gas prices surged.

France also led a group of EU member states, including Finland and several central and eastern European countries, who pushed earlier this week for including nuclear energy in the upcoming green investment rules of the European Union.

“To win the climate battle, we need nuclear power,” say the EU member states led by France.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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