The French parliament passed a bill on the 16th of May, allowing the government to expedite the construction of new nuclear reactors, which they have declared as an environmental step forward.
On Tuesday, after a compromise between the National Assembly and Senate, the bill to speed up the development of new nuclear reactors was passed with 399 votes in favour and 100 against.
MPs from the majority Renaissance, Horizons, and Modem parties, LIOT independents, Les Républicains right wingers, and Rassemblement national extremists all voted in favour of the text along with around a dozen communists.
The Greens, the radical left (La France insoumise) and a few Communists voted “against,” with the Socialists abstaining.
The new legislation will expedite the construction of nuclear reactors by streamlining relevant administrative and development documents. According to the Energy Transition Ministry, this should result in a minimum two-year decrease of construction times.
The 50% cap on nuclear power’s share of France’s electricity mix has been removed. Additionally, the text has provided for harsher punishments for those entering a nuclear power plant illegally – the maximum being two years imprisonment.
This text is an integral part of the government’s plan to promote the use of renewable resources and nuclear energy in order to reach their goal of transitioning to energy sources.
Environmental NGOs have expressed their dissent with the law, branding it as not being in line with ecological and climatic obligations. Greenpeace has particularly argued unpromisingly about the long process of constructing nuclear reactors, in addition to expressing worries over safety measures and water conflicts that can be anticipated.
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, Minister for Energy Transition, strongly urged left-wing MPs to vote in favor of renewable energy and nuclear power, warning that a no vote would be one for fossil fuels and its consequences – global warming.
Construction is set to start in 2027, and the same morning, 16 European countries joined forces for the “nuclear alliance”. This collective effort will formulate a plan to achieve 150 GW of nuclear energy in the EU’s electricity mix by 2050.