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French Nuclear Power Crisis Frustrates Europe’s Push to Quit Russian Energy & More Breaking News Headlines Today



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As Russian aggression redefines Europe’s energy considerations, nuclear energy’s advocates say it can help bridge Europe’s fuel deficit, complementing a shift that was already underway to adapt wind, solar and other renewable energy to meet ambitious climate-change targets.

But fixing the crisis at EDF won’t be easy.

With 56 reactors, France’s atomic fleet is the biggest after the United States’. A quarter of Europe’s electricity comes from nuclear power in about dozen countries, with France producing more than half the total.

But the French nuclear industry, mostly built in the 1980s, has been plagued for decades by a lack of fresh investment. Experts say it has lost valuable engineering expertise as people retired or moved on, with repercussions for EDF’s ability to maintain the existing power stations — or build ones to replace them.

“EDF’s strategy, endorsed by the government, was to delay the reinvestment and transformation of the system,” said Yves Marignac, a nuclear energy specialist at négaWatt, a think tank in Paris. “The more EDF delays, the more skills keep getting lost, technical problems accumulate and there is a snowball effect.”

Mr. Macron recently announced a €51.7 billion blueprint to rebuild France’s nuclear program. EDF would construct the first of up to 14 mammoth next-generation pressurized water reactors by 2035, as well as smaller nuclear plants — the cornerstone of a broader effort to reinforce France’s energy independence and meet climate goals.