July 4, 2012, London, UK — The French government announced it will reduce nuclear generation while at the same time making substantial investment in renewable energy technologies.
New French prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault reaffirmed the government's commitment to nuclear closures in a speech to the national assembly yesterday.
Ayrault said the government is committed to President Francois Hollande's pre-election pledge to reduce nuclear generation from 75pc of total power generation to 50pc by 2025.
The government will launch a “massive energy programme” that will involve the substantial development of renewables generation capacity and investment in renewable energy technologies, which Ayrault said will support economic recovery.
Details of which plants will be closed and under what timeframe have not yet been announced. It remains to be seen whether or not Hollande will carry through his pre-election pledge to close France's oldest nuclear unit, the 1,800MW Fessenheim plant, within the next five years.
Progressive tariffs for gas and power will also be introduced with a combined social and environmental purpose. The new tariff is in an advanced stage of development and will be introduced shortly, Ayrault said.
French nuclear watchdog ASN published its annual report for 2011 last week. According to ASN, none of France's 59 nuclear units must be closed because of safety concerns, but if the plants are to remain operational, safety measures estimated to cost €10bn must be installed by 2018, with initial measures in place by 2014.
Nuclear generation currently accounts for 63,130MW, or about 60pc, of the French energy generation mix.
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