French candidates slip up on nuclear facts

03 May 2007

[CNN, Bloomberg, 3 May] The two candidates remaining in the French presidential elections showed a lack of knowledge of the role of nuclear energy in their country during a live televised debate on 2 May. When asked by Socialist candidate Segolene Royal what share of France's electricity was met by nuclear power, Conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy said that it was 50%. Royal then stated that it was only 17%. However, in 2006, some 78% of France's electricity was in fact generated from nuclear power. In addition, Royal referred to the Evolutionary Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) under construction in Flamanville as a "prototype" third-generation unit. Sarkozy corrected her by saying, "It's not a prototype, it's the fourth generation." The Flamanville EPR is actually a third-generation reactor design, will be the second of its type to be built, and the pilot plant of the next French nuclear fleet. The election will be held on 6 May.

Further information

WNA's French Nuclear Power Program information paper

WNN: Royal promises policy debate, queries EPR