• 4 minutes Energy Armageddon
  • 6 minutes How Far Have We Really Gotten With Alternative Energy
  • 10 minutes Russia Says Europe Will Struggle To Replace Its Oil Products
  • 2 hours Reality catching up with EV forecasts
  • 19 hours A Somewhat Realistic View of the Near Future for Electric Vehicles Worldwide
  • 1 day "Natural Gas Price Fundamental Daily Forecast – Grinding Toward Summer Highs Despite Huge Short Interest" by James Hyerczyk & REUTERS on NatGas
  • 11 days US Oil Independence is a myth and will always be a myth
  • 7 days The Federal Reserve and Money...Aspects which are not widely known
  • 11 days Oil Stocks, Market Direction, Bitcoin, Minerals, Gold, Silver - Technical Trading <--- Chris Vermeulen & Gareth Soloway weigh in
  • 15 days Natural gas price to spike when USA is out of the market
  • 14 days "Biden Is Running U.S. Energy Security Into The Ground" by Irina Slav
  • 15 days *****5 STARS - "The Markets are Rigged" by The Corbett Report
Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba

Haley Zaremba is a writer and journalist based in Mexico City. She has extensive experience writing and editing environmental features, travel pieces, local news in the…

More Info

Premium Content

France Sees Nuclear Energy Output Plummet At The Worst Possible Moment

  • France, the European Union’s leader in nuclear energy, is seeing a massive decline in output.
  • Though it has been relatively unfazed by the bloc’s ongoing energy crisis, declining nuclear production could pose a significant problem in the coming months.
  • The collapse of French nuclear power generation and Putin’s retaliatory cutback on energy exports to Europe could be disastrous for the continent.

France has long been one of the world’s greatest champions of nuclear energy. France leads the European Union in nuclear production, with the most productive reactors in the bloc, and relies on nuclear power for a larger share of its energy mix than any other country in the world. It makes sense that France should lead the charge for nuclear energy development as they have long been the global poster child for safe and reliable nuclear energy – until now.

A recent flurry of unexpected issues at the Électricité de France (EDF), the state nuclear power operator representing the largest nuclear fleet in Europe, has caused French nuclear energy output to tumble to its lowest levels in 30 years. Around half of the EDF’s massive nuclear fleet has been taken offline, delivering a massive blow to the EU’s energy independence and security in the midst of a worldwide energy crisis.

France has become increasingly reliant on nuclear power in recent years. French President Emmanuel Macron has given nuclear energy an even bigger boost in his time in office. Indeed, in February, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he announced a  €52 billion plan to revitalize the country’s “nuclear adventure.” He has also fought for the inclusion of the emissions-free power source as a “green investment” in the nomenclature of the European Union as the continent moves toward establishing its green energy budget for the coming years.


The European Union had hoped that France’s considerable nuclear power capacity would be key in allowing the bloc to move away from Russian energy as the West tries to shore up its energy independence and increase sanctions on the Kremlin in response to the Russian war in Ukraine. As recently as March of this year, the Council on Foreign Relations posited that nuclear power could be the answer to ending the continent’s crippling reliance on Russian energy. But now it might be the very thing that makes such a divorce impossible. 

Related: New EV Battery Boasts 1,000km Range


Until now, France has been relatively sheltered from the energy crisis squeezing its neighbors. But now the nuclear-reliant nation suddenly finds itself in the same boat as other energy-strapped European nations thanks to a “series of maintenance issues including corrosion at some of France’s ageing reactors, troubles at state-controlled energy group EDF and a years-long absence of significant new nuclear investment,” according to reporting from the Financial Times. The issues of corrosion, which are currently to blame for 12 of France’s 56 offline reactors, could take years to fix. Meanwhile, inflation is soaring and French electric bills have hit record highs. 

“Instead of pumping vast amounts of electricity to Britain, Italy and other European countries pivoting from Russian oil,” writes The New York Times, “France faces the unsettling prospect of initiating rolling blackouts this winter and having to import power.” The incredibly bad timing of the EDF’s crisis is compounded with Putin’s recent slashing of natural gas exports to the EU, which have pushed countries such as Germany, Italy, Austria, and the Netherlands to a “bitter and reluctant return to coal.”

The contemporaneous collapse of French nuclear power generation capacity and Putin’s retaliatory cutback on energy exports to Europe spell out disaster and tragedy for the continent’s – and the world’s – decarbonization efforts. And even if France can get its nuclear fleet back up and running relatively quickly (a highly unlikely feat), it’s unlikely that the EU will be able to continue its planned coal phase-out, as the International Energy Agency warns that Russia may soon be cutting off its flow of natural gas to Europe entirely. While other countries including Romania will be bulking up their own nuclear energy capacity in the coming months and years, it looks like we’re on track for a banner year for coal and a devastating step back for global emissions targets.

By Haley Zaremba for Oilprice.com 

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment

Leave a comment

EXXON Mobil -0.35
Open57.81 Trading Vol.6.96M Previous Vol.241.7B
BUY 57.15
Sell 57.00
Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News