France plans to build up to 14 nuclear reactors

France has announced plans to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors in a move that could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a buffer against volatile energy prices. President Emmanuel Macron recently said that France would construct six nuclear reactors, and study the possibility of commissioning a further eight. “Given the electricity needs, the need to also anticipate the transition and the end of the existing fleet, which cannot be extended indefinitely, we are going to launch a program of new nuclear reactors,” Macron said.

The construction will commence in 2028, and the first new reactor could be commissioned by 2035.

The push deeper into nuclear marks a policy reversal for Macron, who promised four years ago to close 12 nuclear reactors as part of a move away from the power source. France was forced to turn to coal power this winter to meet its energy needs after more than a fifth of the country’s nuclear reactors went offline.

France wasn’t the only country in Europe to struggle this winter as wholesale gas prices spiked to record levels, pushing up heating bills for households across the continent. Struggling consumers in France received payments and grants from the government to help defray costs.

Barbara Pompili, France’s minister for energy transition, said the nuclear policy shift was needed due to an “acceleration” of the “unprecedented” energy situation.

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