It took two ministers to underline the importance of the event. Bruno Le Maire, Minister of the Economy and Roland Lescure, Minister Delegate in charge of Industry and Energy, traveled to the La Hague d’Orano site, in Normandy this Thursday to formalize the decisions taken during the nuclear policy council on February 26.

These choices are strategic to support the relaunch of nuclear power in France, whether it involves extending the life of existing reactors to 60 years – and perhaps beyond – or building at least six EPR2s, or even fourteen. The CNP, chaired by Emmanuel Macron, opted for the continuation beyond 2040 of the strategy for processing and recycling nuclear fuels, including for new EPRs. “This extension will go until at least 2100, the EPR2 having a lifespan of 60 years”.

The lifespan of the spent fuel reprocessing plants in La Hague will be extended beyond 2040. Furthermore, the ministers announced the launch of studies to build a new plant for manufacturing recycled MOX fuel (based on oxide mixed uranium and plutonium) on the La Hague site and studies to build a new waste reprocessing plant on the La Hague site by 2045-2050.

Orano employs 5,700 people in Cotentin, 10,000 with subcontractors. “I would like everyone in France to hear this figure, that’s what the industry is, it’s an entire territory that is alive. Nationwide, nuclear power means 200,000 jobs and 100,000 will be created by 2030,” declared Bruno Le Maire, who described the concept of factory-free industry as stupid and hollow. Farewell to the “fabless” fashionable in the 1990s. He also insisted on the importance of nuclear power to decarbonize our energy mix, while the share of energy should be multiplied by two by 2050, not only to ensure the country’s energy sovereignty but also to improve the environmental footprint.