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French Senate proposes removal of 50% nuclear share target


17 Jan 2023 09:48

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17 Jan 2023 09:48

(Montel) The French Senate has provisionally amended the government’s bill on nuclear energy by removing strategic objectives including reducing the share of it in the power mix to 50% by 2035.

The draft bill was first presented by energy minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher on 2 November to cut red tape around nuclear construction in support of the commissioning of six new second-generation European pressurised reactors (EPR) by 2050. 

As well as removing the pledge to lower the share of nuclear power in the energy mix to 50% by 2035, France’s upper house proposed to remove the cap on total authorised nuclear capacity at 62.3 GW.

The bill provided a framework for nuclear acceleration without pre-emptively amending strategic energy policy decisions ahead of the energy and climate law expected by mid-year, an adviser to Pannier-Runacher said late on Monday.

However, if adopted, these amendments would effectively overrule strategic energy objectives set out in the 2015 energy transition law, which underpins France’s long-term energy programme.

Next steps
The next step for the bill is a public session at the Senate starting today that runs for one week. After that, the Senate will vote on the bill and then it will go to the lower house, the National Assembly.

A national public consultation initiated in October is currently being held on the French electricity mix and climate strategy in preparation for the revision of overall energy policy, which is expected by June. Another public debate on the construction of the first new pair of EPR reactors in Penly is also ongoing. 

Earlier this year, president Emmanuel Macron pledged to build six EPRs by 2050 and scrapped a plan to close 12 reactors by 2035.

This was a U-turn to his 2017 campaign pledge to cut reliance on nuclear energy to 50%, down from 70% currently. Despite his U-turn, the target of reducing nuclear to 50% of the mix had remained part of overall energy policy until the Senate’s proposal to amend it.

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