France is proud of its achievements in the development of nuclear energy. Nationwide, there are 58 reactors, which together produce more than 400 billion kilowatt-hours annually, or more than 75% of the total electricity generated. Branch provides a less high electricity prices for domestic consumers, compared with many European countries, which is very important in modern conditions.
In addition to meeting the domestic demand generated at the French nuclear electricity is exported to neighboring Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, the UK and Spain. Volumes profit reached EUR 3 billion each year, making France the world leader in the export of electricity and contributes to its economic prosperity and the strengthening of political positions in the European continent.
The main role in the manufacture of reactors and equipment for them is owned by Areva, NPP carries Electricite de France.
The country has one of the world's best scientific and industrial base, which gives the opportunity for the development of advanced scientific and technological achievements and export its own technology abroad.
This becomes particularly relevant today: nuclear energy for all its contradictions is becoming more attractive. It is being actively developed in countries such as China, India and others. In recent years, plans to build its own nuclear power plant appeared in many countries in Africa and the Middle East, in some cases started their practical implementation. The main reason for this is that the high rate of energy demand growth in nuclear power is one of the few ways to significantly contribute to solving this problem. On the one hand, this will cause an increase in the demand for nuclear fuel and technology for the development of nuclear energy, and on the other - to open up new opportunities for the export of most of these technologies abroad to countries such as the USA, Russia, France, Japan and others.
Of course, in relation to the development prospects of the sector in France and has a negative opinion within the country, which primarily reflects the general European trend in the form of intentions to turn towards renewable energy sources. In particular, the government proclaimed goal - to reduce the share of nuclear energy by a third in the overall energy balance of France in 2025, although during the heated debate on the subject even been calls for the total elimination of nuclear energy in the country. However, it is the central role of nuclear power in electricity generation in France is defined at the legislative level.
We can say with certainty that give up their scientific and technological achievements in the field of nuclear power capacity in view of increasing its role in the world and the absence of a definitive alternative to it, France is unlikely to be. Such a decision will only crime against the country's strategic interests. Therefore, the prospects for development of the sector in France can be considered as optimistic.
However, after a few years, the situation may change. Nuclear power in China is actively developing, in the short term to 2020 Chinese nuclear power plants total capacity is expected to reach 58 GW, even though the 2014 figure was 20 GW. Uranium demand in China in connection with this increase 5 thousand. up to 13 thousand tons per year and will exceed the demand in France.
Long-term prospects are still unclear, but the most optimistic forecasts indicate the possibility of reaching the Chinese nuclear power indicator 400 GW by 2050, which will generate demand at the level of 67 thousand tonnes per year. At the same time development of the sector is rather a necessity due to objective factors. Evaluating all this, it is possible to predict the emergence of a new problem: the high dependence of China on the external supply of nuclear fuel. According to the government plan, a third of the uranium needs to be met by its own deposits, one third - at the expense of supplies from the world market, another third - by the forces of production of Chinese companies abroad. And Beijing has already begun to act in this direction, so that the policy of the Chinese uranium mining companies began to be called "aggressive" in the West. Therefore, Chinese companies are eager to learn the field of the Black Continent, including Niger. In connection with this competition for Africa's uranium wealth may continue in subsequent years.
As for the French military operation in Mali, its main goal was to maintain stability and minimize the threat of the spread of the terrorist threat across the region that has found understanding and support in many African and European countries. However, the importance of stability in the region for France should be assessed, including from the point of view of its influence as a supplier of nuclear fuel, which is likely, will only increase. And having access to sources of raw materials - an important factor for a country with a nuclear program.