France sticks with nuclear technology

Picture of the French nuclear giant Areva

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: In reaction to the ongoing nuclear issues in Japan, critics are now questioning the safety and reliability of nuclear power in the U.S. and other parts of the world. In Europe today, government officials and industry experts are meeting to talk about it.

But Markeplace's Stephen Beard reports, some countries are still going ahead with nuclear plans.


STEPHEN BEARD: China and India have expressed firm support for nuclear technology. But no country has backed nuclear power with as much enthusiasm as France. And France has defended its own safety record. All French nuclear power plants -- it says -- are built with the risk of flooding and seismic activity in mind.

But the French government could do little else. France derives 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. And France is one of the world's biggest suppliers of nuclear technology. The largely state-owned AREVA company sells reactors and fuel around the world.

Alex Barnett of Jeffries International says the Japanese disaster is a major setback.

ALEX BARNETT: I think the company will be extremely impacted by what's happened. I think there will obviously be a lot less new build -- globally -- of nuclear as sort of the fall out from this issue.

AREVA is currently hoping to sell as many as ten nuclear power plants to Britain. That deal could now be in jeopardy.

In London I'm Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

About the author

Stephen Beard is the European bureau chief and provides daily coverage of Europe’s business and economic developments for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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