- France, the European Union’s leader in nuclear energy, is seeing a massive decline in output.
- Though it has been relatively unfazed by the bloc’s ongoing energy crisis, declining nuclear production could pose a significant problem in the coming months.
- The collapse of French nuclear power generation and Putin’s retaliatory cutback on energy exports to Europe could be disastrous for the continent.
France has long been one of the world’s greatest champions of nuclear energy. France leads the European Union in nuclear production, with the most productive reactors in the bloc, and relies on nuclear power for a larger share of its energy mix than any other country in the world. It makes sense that France should lead the charge for nuclear energy development as they have long been the global poster child for safe and reliable nuclear energy – until now.
A recent flurry of unexpected issues at the Électricité de France (EDF), the state nuclear power operator representing the largest nuclear fleet in Europe, has caused French nuclear energy output to tumble to its lowest levels in 30 years. Around half of the EDF’s massive nuclear fleet has been taken offline, delivering a massive blow to the EU’s energy independence and security in the midst of a worldwide energy crisis.
France has become increasingly reliant on nuclear power in recent years. French President Emmanuel Macron has given nuclear energy an even bigger boost in his time in office. Indeed, in February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he announced a €52 billion plan to revitalize the country’s “nuclear adventure.” He has also fought for the inclusion of the emissions-free power source as a “green investment” in the nomenclature of the European Union as the continent moves toward establishing its green energy budget for the coming years.
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