France faces a crisis in energy production and must restart nuclear power plants

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France is looking for alternatives to Russian energy.

  • One of France’s modern nuclear power plants.

Against the backdrop of the energy crisis in Europe, France will desperately have to restart its nuclear reactors, hitherto shut down, to avoid electricity shortages in winter, as Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced on Monday.

Read next: Energy crisis pushes nuclear comeback around the world

“We understand that our nuclear power plant fleet is experiencing a number of difficulties,” Borne said during a meeting with French contractors.

“However, an urgent restart of the shut down nuclear reactors is needed to avoid interruptions in electricity supply this winter,” she added.

Borne stressed that if there is no immediate alternative to Russia’s gas supply, this measure is necessary.

Read next: French foreign minister says need to preserve dialogue with Russia

On August 25, EDF, a French energy company, launched 4 of the 12 nuclear reactors previously shut down for maintenance due to corrosion detected in May by the French Nuclear Safety Authority.

As Europe struggles with unaffordable energy prices, 32 of France’s 56 nuclear reactors are reported to remain idle for a variety of reasons.

France is facing a crisis in energy production, described at the end of July as “difficult without precedent” by government spokesman Olivier Véran. France took rationing measures, such as banning lighting and air conditioners in stores at night.

For his part, French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a meeting of the French Defense and Security Council on Friday, September 2 to discuss the energy crisis.

The meeting will discuss the gas supply situation and the rise in electricity prices before winter. French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and Energy Transformation Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher will attend the meeting.

Read next: France in talks with UAE over replacing Russian oil supplies

Opinions divided

With increasing demand for electricity, a number of nations have said they want to build nuclear infrastructure, including China, which already has the most reactors, the Czech Republic, India and Poland since energy nuclear offers an alternative to coal.

Similar goals are shared by the UK, France, the Netherlands and even the US, where President Joe Biden’s investment plan is helping the sector grow.

Read next: France will build new nuclear reactors

Due to the possibility of catastrophic accidents and the ongoing debate over how to properly dispose of radioactive waste, IPCC experts acknowledge that the use of nuclear energy “may be limited by societal preferences” .

Some countries, such as New Zealand, oppose nuclear power, and the issue has also been hotly debated within the European Union over whether it should be listed as “green” energy.

Read more: A messy nuclear slowdown for Europe

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