France Energy Law in October Could Reduce Nuclear Dependence

The French government will propose an energy law in October that could reduce dependence on nuclear power, according to the Environment Ministry.

It will follow a national debate stemming from a pledge by President Francois Hollande to cut the country’s reliance on atomic energy. Electricite de France SA’s 58 atomic reactors provide three quarters of the nation’s electricity, a proportion Hollande has vowed to reduce to 50 percent by around 2025.

France’s future energy mix will also have to take into account a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gases, 20 percent energy savings and renewables providing 20 percent of demand by 2020, the ministry said today in a statement.

The national debate should result in a “solid accord” on energy through 2050, it said. Discussion will also focus on types of renewables to be developed as well as energy project financing.

Hollande decided in September to shut EDF’s oldest reactor at Fessenheim in 2016 as well as maintain a ban on hydraulic fracturing, the technique used to produce oil and gas from shale rock. Other decisions on energy have been pushed back until after a national consultation.

The outcome of the debate may determine how long EDF is allowed to operate existing reactors and whether it will have to shut more by the end of the decade.

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