Title: The French nuclear programme: Part II Economic performance and strategic implications

Authors: Steve Thomas

Addresses: Energy Programme, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9RF, UK

Abstract: This, the second in a pair of articles, examines the economic performance of the French nuclear power programme and its strategic implications. The article concludes that the major criticism that can be levelled against the French nuclear programme is that the policy lacked balance, with dependence on imported oil being exchanged for dependence on one, not entirely proven, technology. Standardisation was a cornerstone of the policy, but it brings with it the risk of standardised error, which will be significant for many years ahead. The strategic objectives of developing French skills and opening up world markets for French technology have not been fully achieved. The worldwide market for nuclear reactors has practically dried up, and there seems little prospect of an early revival in ordering. France now faces a difficult transition in scaling down reactor production facilities and expanding reactor servicing facilities.

Keywords: capital costs; construction times; economic performance; financing; France; operating performance; nuclear power programme; supply security; strategic implications; worldwide market; standardisation; energy security; nuclear energy.

DOI: 10.1504/IJGEI.1990.063709

International Journal of Global Energy Issues, 1990 Vol.2 No.1, pp.68-82

Published online: 19 Jul 2014 *

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