Survey of Energy Resources 2007
Nuclear Country Notes
France has pursued a vigorous policy of nuclear power development since the mid-1970s and now has by far the largest nuclear generating capacity of any country in Europe, and is second only to the USA in the world. At end-2005 there were 59 reactors in operation, with an aggregate net capacity of over
63 000 MWe. NPPs provide some 78% of France's electricity output. Apart from a single fast reactor (Phenix), PWRs account for the whole of current nuclear capacity.
Electricité de France (EDF) announced in October 2005 that it was planning to increase the generating capacity of five reactors at three of its nuclear power plants in 2008-2010 by replacing turbine rotors, thus adding some 30 MWe to each unit's capacity.
On 5 May 2006 EDF applied to the Ministry of Industry and the Ministry of Environment for authorisation to construct and operate Flamanville-3, its first European Pressurised Water Reactor (EPR), which is scheduled for completion in 2012. Subsequently, contracts have been awarded by EDF for the major aspects of the project, on which construction work is expected to start by the end of 2007.
In December 2006, the French Government's Atomic Energy Committee announced a plan to construct a sodium-cooled fast reactor by 2020, with the final decision whether to go ahead being made in 2012. A design for a gas-cooled fast reactor will also be developed concurrently. These fourth-generation models are envisaged as entering commercial service after 2035-2040.