France to invest in new reactors

France is to renew its dependence on nuclear energy by investing in a new advanced reactor, The Guardian reported industry minister Nicole Fontaine has having said. But Ms Fontaine said she backed launching the third generation European pressurised water reactor, a joint project between France’s state-owned nuclear energy firm Areva and Germany’s Siemens, as soon as possible. The new reactor, called the EPR (European Pressurised-Water Reactor), is claimed to be much safer and cheaper than existing plants. “France cannot get by without nuclear power,” Ms Fontaine said. “EPR has incontestable advantages. It is modern, 10 times safer, and 10% more efficient than the existing generation of reactors. Electricity will be cheaper, there will be less harmful waste.” However, the office of the prime minister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, denied any decision had been taken and said a broad consultation paper on France’s future energy policy was due to be published. Ms Fontaine’s unexpected statement prompted an outcry from environmentalists, who accused her of caving in to lobbying from the nuclear industry.




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