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France relies on nuclear power – mini-reactors to supply energy on site

2023-12-02T13:48:06.258Z

Highlights: France relies on nuclear power – mini-reactors to supply energy on site. A group of around 20 countries has called for the expansion of nuclear energy at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai. The aim is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it said. France is taking the opposite approach. New nuclear power plants and reactor types are intended to provide energy security. Germany had phased out the use of nuclear power for electricity generation for just under ten percent of global electricity generation. The peak figure was 1996.



Status: 02.12.2023, 14:36 PM

By: Markus Hofstetter

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Germany has abandoned nuclear energy. France is taking the opposite approach. New nuclear power plants and reactor types are intended to provide energy security.

Paris/Dubai - A group of around 20 countries has called for the expansion of nuclear energy at the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai. The joint statement, published on Saturday (2 December), involved the US, France, the UK and the host country, the United Arab Emirates, among others. The aim is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it said. The group of states called for the worldwide installed capacity of nuclear power plants to be tripled by 2050 – compared to 2020 levels.

France relies on nuclear energy: new nuclear power plants to be built and promoted

This declaration is entirely in line with the spirit of France, whose President Emmanuel Macron is in favour of nuclear power. As part of the "France 2021" programme for the future, announced at the end of 2030, state funds are to flow to promote the development of so-called mini-reactors (SMR Small Modular Reactor). In February 2022, Macron announced that 14 new nuclear power plants would be built.

China is already further ahead in mini-reactors. The first SMR reactor was installed in Changjiang in August. © LUOYUNFEI/Imago

One company in the field of mini-reactors that benefits from the subsidies is Naarea. The start-up is developing a reactor that will use fast neutrons to generate energy from nuclear waste. The plant will have a capacity of 40 megawatts and will be located near energy-intensive farms. By comparison, conventional nuclear reactors usually have an electrical output of 900 to 1400 megawatts.

France relies on nuclear power: mini-reactor to supply energy for battery factory

At the World Nuclear Exhibition in Villepinte, which ended on Thursday (30 November), Naarea was able to score a success. The start-up presented the conclusion of an agreement with the battery manufacturer Automotive Cells Company (ACC), in which the car companies Stellantis and Mercedes as well as the battery manufacturer Saft, a subsidiary of the energy group Totalenergies, are involved.

According to the press release, ACC intends to examine the extent to which the Naarea technology can achieve the goals of CO2 neutrality and meet the energy needs of its future gigafactories. The prototype of the Naarea molten salt reactor is expected to be completed between 2027 and 2028. From 2030, series production of hundreds of small reactors with the help of 3D printers is to begin.

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France bets on nuclear energy: end of a similar US project does not deter

Naarea is not deterred by the fact that a well-known mini-reactor project in the United States was recently halted. The start-up Nuscale Power Corporation had to give up due to sharply increased costs from an estimated $5.3 billion to $9.3 billion and financing problems. It was not the technology, but the business model that failed at Nuscale, Naarea founder Jean-Luc Alexandre told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. As a pure developer, the company felt the full force of the effects of inflation on its service providers, so that energy costs were no longer profitable for future customers.

Germany had phased out the use of nuclear energy for electricity generation in April. They currently account for just under ten percent of global electricity generation. The peak figure was 1996.17 percent in 5.

Source: merkur

All news articles on 2023-12-02

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