Nuclear energy: An asset for France’s energy independence

According to a recent BVA survey for Orano* on how the French public perceives nuclear energy, 53% of respondents consider it to be essential for France’s energy independence. And it’s true! Nuclear energy gives France an energy independence of 56%, one of the highest independence rates in the European Union.

A strategic energy source

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The nuclear sector has been contributing to France’s energy independence for more than 40 years. 

Nuclear energy: A French asset

  • Energy produced in France
  • A sensitive sector that should remain under French control
  • A sector that creates jobs in France 
  • The 3rd French industrial sector after the aeronautics and automotive sectors
  • French expertise that is exported abroad
  • A sector that contributes to regional economic development
  • A sector that contributes 6 billion euros per year to France’s trade balance.

Supply security

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In the recent public health crisis, unprecedented in magnitude, the nuclear sector demonstrated its capacity to ensure the security of electricity supply. 

Nuclear energy thus contributes to securely delivering electricity to hospitals, housing, companies, and transportation around the world.

A specifically French sector of excellence

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France does not have enough domestic energy resources (gas, oil, or coal) to produce its electricity. Following the oil price shocks in the 1970s, France decided to develop nuclear energy domestically to ensure not only its supply security but also national energy sovereignty. 

It then developed a complete national industrial nuclear sector that enables it to control the design and construction of its own facilities for electricity production, uranium enrichment, and fuel fabrication, not to mention recycling. 

The French nuclear industry is…

  • Almost €50 billion in revenue 
  • 220,000 qualified, non-relocatable jobs
  • 2 600 companies on French soil
  • 6,7 % of French industrial employment 
  • 400 000 indirect jobs in France

A reliable and manageable energy    

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Nuclear energy provides electricity continuously that can adapt to variations in electrical demand. 

In the BVA study for Orano, French people understood that nuclear energy produces uninterrupted electricity, demonstrating how important 24/7 electricity supply security is for them

A competitive energy

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Nuclear energy is one of the least expensive sources of electricity to produce, making French electricity prices among the lowest in Europe.
+60% : how much more a German household pays for its electricity bill compared to a French household.

Uranium and energy independence

Uranium ore is no longer mined in France. The last mine stopped its production in 2001 because the deposits were no longer economically viable even though there was still uranium in France. Orano’s mining activities are now located in Kazakhstan, Canada, and Niger. By mining these deposits with partners, generally mining actors in these countries, the Orano group diversifies and ensures the security of its uranium production. 

For all the rest of Orano’s fuel cycle activities, the plants and skills are located in France, be it for transforming and enriching the uranium to make fuel, recycling spent fuel, engineering, or dismantling. The presence of these plants in France thus plays a direct role in strengthening the country’s sovereignty over its energy supply. For example, the strategic stocks of materials, found in part on Orano’s sites in France, represent 3 to 5 years of consumption. For gas or oil, there are only a few months of stocks. 

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