President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced France would launch a drive to build new nuclear energy plants in order to better meet growing energy and environmental challenges.
"To guarantee France's energy independence and achieve our objectives, in particular carbon neutrality in 2050, we will for the first time in decades relaunch the construction of nuclear reactors in our country," Macron said in an address to the nation.
Macron, speaking as the COP26 climate summit continues in Glasgow, vowed that France would also continue to develop renewable energy.
France, which derives the majority of its electricity from nuclear power, is currently building only one new third-generation EPR nuclear reactor Flamanville in Normandy.
But work on the site, which began in 2007, has still not been completed. French energy firm EDF this spring submitted a feasibility study to the government for a programme to build six new reactors.
"If we want to pay for our energy at reasonable rates and not depend on foreign countries, we must both continue to save energy and invest in the production of carbon-free energy on our soil," Macron said.
In a statement, Greenpeace France lashed out at Macron's announcement of more nuclear reactors, accusing him of electioneering ahead of April 2022 polls. Macron has not declared his candidacy but is widely expected to stand in next year's elections.
"Announcing a nuclear revival and the construction of new reactors as the nuclear industry is mired in fiascos is totally disconnected from reality," said Greenpeace France's energy transition campaigner Nicolas Nace, pointing to the delays at Flamanville.
"Too expensive, too slow and too dangerous, nuclear power is obsolete in a climate emergency," he added.
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