France chooses site for pair of new reactors in €52 billion nuclear construction programme

By Neil Gerrard20 July 2023

The nuclear power plant at Bugey, France The nuclear power plant at Bugey, France (Image: Spiritrespect, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

France has chosen Bugey in eastern France as a site for two new nuclear reactors, part of a wider construction programme of six reactors costing an estimated €52 billion ($58.2 billion).

The office of French president Emmanual Macron announced the move yesterday, indicating that the pair of reactors would be built on the site of an existing nuclear power plant at Bugey.

Macron announced a new nuclear building programme late last year, with French energy firm EDF overseeing construction of six EPR2 reactors.

Existing sites at Gravelines in northern France and Penly in the Seine-Maritime departments had already been identified as sites for a pair of reactors each.

But at that stage, there was still a decision to be made over whether to build the final pair at Bugey or Tricastin in the south of the country.

Construction of the nuclear reactors form a central plank in France’s efforts to reach net zero by 2050. Construction work is set to start in 2027.

Macron’s presidential office said in a statement, “The Nuclear Policy Council has decided to choose, with the support of local elected officials, the Bugey site for the installation of the third pair of EPR2 reactors, after Penly and Gravelines.

“The location of the first phase of the EPR2 construction program has now been decided. Technical studies and analyzes will continue on the Tricastin site with a view to hosting future nuclear reactors.”

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