July 4, 2022

the Court of Auditors warns about the “uncertainties” around the construction of new reactors

President Emmanuel Macron announced the relaunch of nuclear reactor construction in his last televised address on November 9.

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A doubt hangs over the nuclear industry. The Court of Auditors alerted, Thursday, November 18, on “uncertainties” weighing on the ability to build a new nuclear fleet “within a reasonable time and at a reasonable cost”, while Emmanuel Macron has just decided to launch a new reactor construction program, without for the moment specifying that it is EPR.

The construction of new means of electricity production – whether nuclear or renewable – “calls for now urgent decisions to guarantee our supply by the decade 2040”, underline the magistrates in a thematic note. This was already the conclusion of the recent report by the operator of the RTE network, while the French nuclear fleet is aging.

Following this publication, Emmanuel Macron announced on November 9 the launch of a new nuclear program, while this theme has emerged in the presidential campaign. France is currently building a single new generation EPR reactor at Flamanville (Manche). EDF made a proposal to the State to initially build 6 new EPR models (EPR2) for an estimated construction cost of 46 billion euros.

But the magistrates note that it would take much more (up to “25 to 30”) to maintain a 50% nuclear share in electricity production beyond 2050. This would require “an accelerated mobilization and recovery effort in our nuclear industry” and pose “the question of the number of available sites”. They also note that EDF will not be able to finance new constructions on its own and that “risk sharing with the State” will be necessary.