Much is made in the US of the fact that nuclear power accounts for 87 percent of France's electricity. What is seldom pointed out, however, is that France is about as big as the US state of Texas, and that France's 58 existing reactors have far less combined capacity than the US does from its nuclear fleet. As in the US, however, France's reactors are soon to reach the end of their respective design lives. Look past the one-plant headline, then, to see how many existing plants can be upgraded or replaced, and with what technology. If it's the EPR which proves most cost effective, the export of its design will bring large licensing fees, and possible fuel rod revenues, to France's Areva and to Germany's Siemens.
The EPR, developed in the 1990s by Siemens and a subsidiary of Areva, is said to use 17 percent less fuel than current types of reactor and is designed to generate power for 60 years.See also: Climate Stage Right: Enter The French Nuclear Empire Via:The Tocqueville Connection France To Build Second Latest-Generation Nuclear Plant Image credit::EDF France, excerpt from photo of turbine building at Flamanville 3 site.