Is France’s Bet on Nuclear Energy Bearing Fruit?



France has significant potential in the field of renewable energy.

At the same time, France can supply its industry with cheap energy from nuclear power, which France’s heavy industry needs to produce goods of the highest quality.



1. Nuclear energy is France’s main strength in the energy sector


Nuclear energy is one of France’s main strengths, partly because France is the leading energy power in Europe. France is able to export electricity to Central Europe and especially to Germany. This is a major advantage for French industrial production because France is relatively energy independent. The nation can supply its own industry with cheap energy – at any time.

Nuclear energy has the additional advantage that it can ensure a basic supply of energy. This is an advantage compared to other countries. Other countries, such as Germany, cannot secure renewable energy supplies at all times. Germany relies heavily on renewable energy in a country where the wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine. This undermines German industrial progress and may cause German manufacturers to look for other ways to maintain industrial production. Energy costs are particularly high in heavy industry and steel production.


2. In recent years, renewable energy has begun to compete with nuclear power


Assuming that wind power can make a sustainable contribution to France’s energy landscape, nuclear power will still remain an important part of the French energy industry. This will not change in the foreseeable future, but renewables will account for a growing share of French electricity production.

Wind energy is particularly promising and will most likely reach grid parity in the French electricity market. As for the European renewable energy industry, there is a fruitful relationship between France and Germany, where both countries have made important contributions to each other in the field of renewable energy. In particular, German companies have made a significant contribution to the commercialization of solar and wind energy systems for the global market.


3. The maintenance costs of older nuclear power plants are actually quite high, especially when decommissioning costs are included.


While it is true that nuclear power can support the French energy industry, maintenance costs remain high. This calls into question the entire future of the French energy industry in the years to come. Is it worth to invest in newer nuclear power plants with an updated safety design, or should France make a complete transition to renewables, as Germany has done. And France has learned from the German experience with renewables. Germany has some of the highest electricity prices in the industrialized world, straining household budgets and imposing high costs on industry and commerce. Energy prices play an important role for households, as can be seen in the Yellow Vests protests in France.

There is also the question of whether France will be able to maintain such a large nuclear power industry in the coming years, as the French nuclear power industry will need significant investment to replace the old nuclear plants. Most of the French nuclear power plants are relatively old and do not comply with the most modern safety concepts. 


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