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France wants to speed up construction of nuclear power plants


By removing bureaucratic hurdles, France wants to connect its new nuclear power plants to the grid even faster. The responsible minister reassured: All of this should not be at the expense of security.

Fessenheim nuclear power plant in France

Photo: Patrick Seeger/ dpa

France is speeding up the expansion of nuclear power.

The country wants to accelerate the construction of nuclear power plants and remove bureaucratic hurdles.

"It's about not wasting any time," said Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher at the start of the debate on a corresponding bill in the Senate on Tuesday.

Among other things, this stipulates that construction may already be carried out on the outbuildings of a reactor while the public debate on reactor construction is still ongoing.

"This does not mean that safety, protection of biodiversity or public participation will be restricted," emphasized the minister.

According to the draft law, approvals from the municipal level will no longer be required for the construction of new reactors, as the state should monitor compliance with the standards.

"The aim is to pour the first layer of concrete by the end of President Emmanuel Macron's term of office, i.e. 2027," Pannier-Runacher had previously emphasized.

About a year ago, Macron announced the construction of initially six and up to 14 new nuclear reactors.

They are intended to be similar to the only EPR reactor still under construction in Flamanville, but with a simplified blueprint.

The Flamanville EPR reactor was originally scheduled to go online in 2012.

Commissioning is currently planned for 2024.

Flamanville's costs have now quadrupled, but the French government insists that future nuclear reactors will be cheaper.

"The standardization and series production reduce the average costs considerably," said Pannier-Runacher.

Almost 52 billion euros for six new reactors

The power plant operator EDF assumes costs of 51.7 billion euros for the construction of six new reactors.

The new reactors are to be built in pairs at the site of existing nuclear power plants.

The first power plants are to be built in Penly, the next two in Gravelines, each on the coast of the English Channel.

Little resistance to the bill is expected in the mostly right-wing Senate.

The right-wing conservative Republicans also want to use this law to concede the goal set by Macron's predecessor François Hollande of reducing the share of nuclear power from 70 to 50 percent.

Originally, 14 reactors were to be taken off the grid for this purpose.

The vote is scheduled for January 24, after which the law will go to the National Assembly.

A law on the main lines of energy policy is also pending this year.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2023-01-17

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