France Commits to Nuclear Future
Source: Dave Brown, Uranium Investing News (7/6/11)
"Diverging from some of its EU neighbors, France announced it will invest $1.4B in its nuclear energy program."
As a long time proponent of nuclear power, last week France announced that it will invest $1.4 billion in its nuclear energy program, diverging from contentious deliberation from neighboring states on nuclear energy policy after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that damaged the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March.
The President of France, Nicholas Sarkozy, issued a strong commitment announcing the energy funding package by declaring there is "no alternative to nuclear energy today." With the capital used to fund fourth generation nuclear power plant technology, focusing research development in nuclear safety, the announcement validates many decades of energy infrastructure and legacy expansion.
France currently operates the second largest nuclear fleet in the world with 58 reactors, responsible for supplying more than 74% of domestic electricity demand supplied to the world's fifth largest economy last year.
At the end of last month, French uranium producer, Areva Group, and Katko announced plans to increase production to 4,000 tons of uranium next year.
The pronouncement to maintain the nuclear prominence in France provides a strong counterweight to other countries in the region. Germany recently announced the phased shutdown of its 17 nuclear power stations by 2022.
A Federal Network Agency, which oversees German energy markets, will decide by the end of September whether one of the eight nuclear plants already closed in recent months should be kept ready on a "cold reserve" basis, to facilitate the transition for national energy supply.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said she would prefer for utility suppliers not to make up any electrical shortfalls after 2022 by obtaining nuclear power from neighboring countries like France.
Last month, the government in the United Kingdom maintained its strong commitment to nuclear energy, confirming a series of potential locations for new nuclear builds. -Uranium Investing News