France Restarts Nuclear Reactors, Eases Blackout Fears

    Photo: Shutterstock [via The Wall Street Journal]

    The Facts

    • French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire and RTE grid system executive Thomas Veyrenc on Wednesday assured citizens that the country will avoid power cuts this winter, with Le Maire announcing they are on track to get 45 nuclear reactors on line by January, up from the current number of 41.

    • Earlier this year, corrosion on pipes near some reactor cores led authorities to take 30 of the nation's 56 reactors offline. France has reopened five reactors since last week, bringing its total nuclear energy output to over 41K megawatts — just above the 40K threshold needed to avoid power cuts.


    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    In contrast to countries like Germany, which are overdependent on traditional and environmentally harmful energy sources, France's dozens of nuclear power plants have and will continue to help it get through the winter despite gas supply stoppages from Russia. Germany's over reliance on Russia led to it being forced to stock up on gas from elsewhere. Meanwhile, France was able to kick its domestic nuclear production into gear when the population needed it most.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    France faced a potential grid collapse and subsequent rolling blackouts specifically because of its nuclear power plant dependancy. If it weren't for the mild climate of November, the French people could very well have faced catastrophic energy shortages.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least 66.5% of France's electricity consumption will be supplied by nuclear power in 2035, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


    Establishment split

    CRITICAL

    PRO

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