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France To Cut Nuclear Power By A Third By 2025

November 29, 2015

By Paul Homewood 


Last year, we imported 21 TWh of electricity, most from France, the highest on record, and representing 6% of total supply.

We are also in the process of building more interconnectors, as a buffer against the failure of intermittent renewables to supply on demand.

The hope is that we can tap in cheaply to French nuclear power. There is a slight snag with this plan though – France is committed by law to reducing nuclear’s share of generation from 75% to 50% by 2025.

In October 2014, their Parliament voted for this policy, pushed by President Hollande as part of his deal with the Green Party before the 2012 election. However, there was an ulterior motive, which was that the EU Renewables Directive had already forced France to increase the renewable share of the country’s energy mix to 23% by 2020.

Even last year renewables still produced less than 9%, so the target is in effect unachievable. But to get anywhere near it, France has little choice but to shut down perfectly efficient and safe nuclear power plant, and replace with wind and solar farms.


That, of course, is France’s problem. Unfortunately though, if the wind is not blowing and the sun not shining here, it probably won’t be there, or in the rest of NW Europe, either.

If they don’t have any surplus nuclear power to sell us, what will come down the interconnectors?


  1. November 29, 2015 7:20 pm

    France has currently one of lowest CO2 per capita in Europe, I wonder what that will be after 2025.

    • 3x2 permalink
      November 29, 2015 8:48 pm

      Well, obviously, they (The French) must increase their CO2 output in order to match the EU ‘average’ (per capita of course). Generating most of ones electrical energy from Uranium gives one an unfair advantage when compared to less advanced EU members, (idiot green) Germany, and that complete ‘shed collapse’ calling itself ‘The UK’.

      This is what you get when you put 28 nations together in a room in order to come up with a ‘de-carbonisation’ policy. The French are already 80% there (electrical generation) but can’t be allowed to have an advantage over any other member. The shut down of French (CO2 free) generation becomes a priority for the rest.

      It’s nothing one wouldn’t expect when one looks at the way the EU mess works. France cannot be allowed to gain advantage via its foresight in having gone nuclear way back when. It must be forced to pay what everyone else pays right now.

      This is the kind of ‘high level’ insanity that comes about when a committee designs a race horse and comes up with a camel.

      Want to guess which way I will be voting come Autumn 2017?

  2. November 29, 2015 7:22 pm

    It looks like we’ll have to rely on the politicians to generate the necessary wind and gas to keep us going.

    I really thought that the French had more sense and would not cave-in to the stupidity that our lot worship. Gallic logic might still win-out as they look at the implications for gas imports for back-up plant.

    At least they still build the big gas turbines for GTCC back-up, which the UK don’t.

  3. November 29, 2015 8:32 pm

    The word on the street is that the French nuclear engineering company AREVA (Government owned) is essentially broke. The French Government (also essentially a basket case) wants the nuclear utility EdF (Government owned) to take over AREVA. However EdF is also essentially broke due to the massive problems it is having building the Finnish and French EPRs (the latter due to the faulty vessel which is made form the same faulty steel as used to build the vessel for Hinkley C). So the French do not need a law to reduce their nuclear electricity capacity as it will be reduced anyway as the aging fleet is retired and they cannot build new ones. The interconnector will not be used as there will be no spare capacity at either end.

    • November 29, 2015 8:35 pm

      I should have added that EdF will not be able to find the money to fund its 70% share of Hinkley C, for which I am expecting an announcement any time soon to the effect that it is not going ahead. SMR anybody?

    • November 29, 2015 11:34 pm

      Perhaps its a cunning plan to import our electricity?

  4. November 29, 2015 8:39 pm

    There is also the issue that France’s nukes are as elderly as the UK ones, and some would have to close anyway, but this is another example of where tiny Green (and Lib Dem) parties can wield undemocratic levels of influence via coalition govts.

  5. J Martin permalink
    November 29, 2015 8:44 pm

    Just needs one severe winter without sufficient power and the French will reconsider their self imposed ban on fracking. They have some shale.
    In the UK we could buy Russian nuclear and export electricity to the French.
    Philip Bratby, SMR is what ?

  6. J Martin permalink
    November 29, 2015 8:52 pm

    This is what we should be doing. Thorium. How come a small country like Norway can do this and the much more populous UK with a history of reactor design and development can’t ?

  7. November 29, 2015 10:28 pm

    Self-imposed energy poverty?
    Succumbing to winter for fear of global warming?
    What is happening? Not even lemmings do this.

  8. Ben Vorlich permalink
    November 29, 2015 10:35 pm

    Hollande is putting his faith in Eolians, despite growing resistance in rural areas. Here in Limousin the local wind conditions measured at Bellegarde-Limoges (alt 396 metres) is

    Over the course of the year typical wind speeds vary from 1 m/s to 6 m/s (light air to moderate breeze), rarely exceeding 9 m/s (fresh breeze).

    The highest average wind speed of 4 m/s (gentle breeze) occurs around April 3, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 6 m/s (moderate breeze).

    The lowest average wind speed of 3 m/s (light breeze) occurs around August 6, at which time the average daily maximum wind speed is 4 m/s (gentle breeze).

    Various wind turbine specifications
    Siemens SWT-3-6-107
    Cut-in wind speed 3-5 m/s
    Nominal power at approx. 13-14 m/s

    Siemens SWT-3.6-120
    Cut-in wind speed 3-5 m/s
    Nominal power at 12-13 m/s

    Alstom ecotècnia 74 1.67
    Cut-in wind speed 3 m/s
    Mean annual wind speed for which it is suitable 8.5 m/s

    Vestas V90-3.0 MW
    Cut-in wind speed 3.5 m/s
    Rated wind speed 15 m/s

    Vestas V126-3.45 MW
    Cut-in wind speed 3 m/s

    Interestingly Vestas don’t publish much data about optimum wind speeds. Despite that we can say than as wind speeds rarely exceed 9m/s then any wind turbine in Limousin is rarely going to reach full power, and for most of the time they will be producing enough electricity to boil a couple of kettles.

    • John de Melle permalink
      November 30, 2015 5:05 pm

      I am not sure about Vestas. There are three wind farms around here (south Deux-Sevres) I often see the two Enercon farms working, but the wind is too feeble for the Vestas to turn.

  9. AndyG55 permalink
    November 30, 2015 8:47 am

    Hopefully by 2025 , people will have woken up to the charade of AGW, and all these ridiculous targets will be throw in the circular file where they belong !!

  10. Dr Peter R Blower permalink
    November 30, 2015 9:11 am

    So why doesn’t the UK Government offer to purchase a few French reactors with the intent that they will ONLY supply the UK (via interconnectors)? Such a solution might solve the problem of the gap in UK power supply.

    • Bloke down the pub permalink
      November 30, 2015 11:34 am

      You beat me to it. I suspect one downside would be that after the reactors short remaining life had been used up, the UK would be expected to pay all the clean up costs when it shut.

      • Dr Peter R Blower permalink
        November 30, 2015 2:07 pm

        Good point. However I expect HMG could negotiate a deal that did not include legacy liability (which the French government will have planned for anyway). The French would gain a valuable cash injection and a delay of the (inevitable) clean-up costs, with perhaps an insurance “emergency clause” to supply France when their new renewable sources fail to meet the demands of the French grid.
        Everyone wins – except the Green Party.

  11. A C Osborn permalink
    November 30, 2015 4:45 pm

    The lunatics are not just running the Asylum, they are now just about running the world.
    Some of the ideas that they are implementing are pure madness.

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