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French President Emmanuel Macron has called for 13 new nuclear reactors in what he called a "renaissance" of the country's nuclear power industry.
France, like its European peers, have ambitious plans to move away from fossil fuels. For some, it means an aggressive plan to shift away from natural gas and crude oil and toward wind, solar, geothermal, or hydrogen. For other European countries, it includes a robust nuclear power program.
In the coming years, France will "need to produce a lot more electricity," Macron said in a speech on Thursday at a turbine plant.
Macron's plan calls for an order of six new-generation ERP2 reactors (European Pressurised Reactor), and an order for a study of eight additional reactors.
"What we have to build today is the renaissance of the French nuclear industry because it's the right moment, because it's the right thing for our nation, because everything is in place," Macron said.
Nuclear power—and its green label—has caused dissension among European countries. France, a nuclear energy powerhouse, has pushed hard in recent weeks to include nuclear power in its plans to reduce carbon emissions. Germany, for one, has openly chastised the European Commission for its decision to classify nuclear investments as climate-friendly. Nuclear power has been labeled as a transitional green energy source.
Germany has plans to shutter all of its nuclear plants by 2022.
But Macron sees nuclear power as critical to moving away from dirtier fossil fuels—in fact, he sees it as the only way to ensure a smooth energy transition.
But Macron's nuclear energy plans hinges on him winning the upcoming election, which will be held April 10 – April 24.
Along with his plans for more nuclear energy, Macron also announced plans for massive investments in renewable energy. His renewable plans call for 50 offshore wind parks in France, which currently has none, and double the onshore solar capacity.
By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com
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Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for Oilprice.com, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.