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France’s nuclear bet is a ‘risky move’

Media Contact

Jeff Tyson

President Emmanuel Macron announced Tuesday that France would invest €1bn in nuclear power by 2030 — betting on favorable public opinion in the midst of an energy crisis and the pressing need to cut carbon emissions.

Max Zhang

Professor of engineering and faculty director at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability

Max Zhang is a sustainable energy systems expert at Cornell University’s College of Engineering and a faculty director at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Zhang says France is taking a risk by investing in nuclear power and that public opinion can quickly sway against it.

Zhang says:

“History has proven that public opinion can shift quickly against nuclear energy in the event of any nuclear accidents. I hope no future nuclear accidents occur but relying on nuclear energy to address the climate challenges is a risky move.

“There is an old saying in France about nuclear energy: ‘No oil, no gas, no choice.’ France does have a choice to invest in renewables and energy storage. In my opinion, nuclear energy should be in the clean energy mix but should not be prioritized over renewable energy generation.”

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