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France’s nuclear energy costs to soar

A Greenpeace floats over a nuclear power station at Saint-Vulbas near Lyon
A Greenpeace floats over a nuclear power station at Saint-Vulbas near Lyon Reuters/Lagazeta / Greenpeace/Handout

The cost of nuclear energy in France is to increase sharply and continue to increase over the next few years, France’s official auditor says, predicting that investment to prolong the lives of ageing power stations will push up electricity bills.

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Presenting its report to parliament this week, the Cour des Comptes pointed to the 20 per cent increase in the cost of nuclear energy production between 2010 and 2013.

Nuclear energy from France’s 19 nuclear power stations accounts for over 75 per cent of the country’s electricity production.

Electricity costs went up five per cent last year.

The analysis comes as French nuclear giant Areva agreed to pay more taxes to continue to operate uranium mines in Niger.

But the cost of nuclear energy in France is more linked to infrastructure than the cost of raw materials, economist Olivier Gollier, of the University of Toulouse, told RFI.

Major investment of 110 billion euros is needed in ageing power stations and running costs, including uranium supplies, wages and taxes, are expected to rise 11 per cent.
 

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