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Nuclear power


All our figures are interactive: in the upper-right corner of every figure, you find buttons for zooming in and out. By clicking on a time series in a legend, you can add or hide them from the figure.

Scenario Corridor

For comparison, each graphic shows the corridor of scenarios developed by a team of researchers from the Technical University of Berlin using the GENeSYS-MOD model as part of the European openENTRANCE project.

For a given indicator, the scenario corridor displays the minimum and maximum values of projections at five-year intervals between 2025 and 2050 among four scenarios. The scenarios considered are: Directed Transition, Gradual Development, Societal Commitment and Techno-Friendly.

More information on the definition of the scenarios can be found here.

Share of nuclear energy in electricity production

In order to pursue the objective of diversifying the electricity mix in France, the Energy Transition Law for Green Growth (LTECV) adopted in August 2015 had set the objective of reducing the share of nuclear power in the electricity production to 50% by 2025. In November 2019, the Energy-Climate Law (LEC) noted the postponement of this objective to 2035 instead of 2025. It is specified in the Pluriannual Energy Programming (PPE) that this objective would imply, among other things, closing 14 nuclear reactors in France by 2035. In February and June 2020, the two reactors at the Fessenheim plant were closed. France currently has 56 nuclear reactors at 18 sites with a total installed capacity of 61.4 GW.

According to the 2022 electricity balance data published by the Réseau de Transport d'Électricité (RTE) in France, nuclear generation accounts for 62.7% of electricity generation in France in 2022. This share is 4 percentage points below the share induced by a linear reduction between 2019 - the year in which the target was set - and 2035 - the year by which the target must be reached. Indeed, a linear reduction in the share of nuclear power in electricity generation would imply a ratio of 66.7% for 2022. However, this result should be interpreted with caution. It is doubtful that this proportion represents a sustainable change in the French electricity mix. Firstly, the availability of the nuclear fleet has been historically low in 2022. In August this year, only 21.7 GW of nuclear generation capacity was available, i.e. only 35% of the total installed capacity. This low availability does not reflect a desire to reduce total installed capacity but was due to plant maintenance problems, far from all anticipated ("unscheduled outages"), linked to the appearance of corrosion phenomena in several reactors. With these problems now resolved, nuclear production for the coming year is expected to increase again and potentially exceed the reduction targets. However, it is important to note that electricity generation in France has also reached a historically low level, 15% below the 2021 level (445.2 TWh in 2022 compared to 522.4 TWh in 2021), making France a net importer of electricity for the first time in 40 years. This is due not only to the lower nuclear availability but also to historically low hydro production due to unusual weather conditions (high temperatures and droughts). This means that the share of nuclear power in electricity generation in 2022, although pulled down by unscheduled outages, is potentially pulled up by this low level of electricity production.