Yves Bréchet, High Commissioner for Atomic Energy, gives his point of view
People are brainwashed by the media, which only ever talks about countries that are withdrawing from nuclear energy without mentioning all those countries that are launching large-scale programmes. They are always raising the spectre of waste and harping on about accident scenarios without ever discussing actual mortalities. This happens so much that we have ended up forgetting that the electro-nuclear sector is one of the shining lights of French industry and that it still has huge markets to conquer. Engineers need to consider the facts rather than interpreting the ramblings of others.
Nobody is in any doubt that we need to de-carbon the economy. The industrial economy needs a huge amount of stable energy production coupled with efficient distribution networks. For as long as the limitations of energy storage hamper the large-scale development of renewable energies, the nuclear sector remains an attractive option at world level. In France more specifically, the nuclear industry provides more than 70% of our electricity at a rate that is nearly half that of neighbouring countries. In this context, whereas it is reasonable to discuss the targeted percentages and the timing of developments, we cannot reasonably imagine France doing without nuclear energy.
As a result of all this, there is a great need in France and the world of nuclear engineers to ensure that aging installations continue to operate and are replaced. There is also a need to roll out our technology abroad and to develop the next generation of plants. Louis Néel, who was always a visionary, set up the nuclear engineering section at Grenoble INP. The various professions within the nuclear sector are now taught at Phelma and Ense3, and just as the industry is a great asset for France in the global competition, the training offered to students at Grenoble INP is a response to the clarity of the facts rather than noisy talk.