Can France opt for nuclear exit?

Paris, Jan 8 (ANI): Experts believe that phasing out Frances' civilian nuclear program would entail costs both to military funding streams, and to the nation's identity, a report has said.

Nuclear arms experts Patrice Bouveret, Bruno Barrillot, and Dominique Lalanne, in their provocative article, "Nuclear chromosomes: The national security implications of a French phase-out," explained that weapons channels are distinct from the power industry.

However, as civilian and military nuclear programs have been intertwined for decades, cutting financing for civilian nuclear research projects would increase the cost of maintaining the nuclear arsenal.

The extent to which the military and civilian budgets are shared and expenses transferred between them is impossible to quantify, a deliberate move by defense staff to maintain secrecy.

"From its beginnings after World War II, the French nuclear effort has occupied an exalted position in the country's national identity. In fact, one could reasonably argue that it would take a reimagining of that identity, and a reconsideration of France's nuclear deterrent, before a French exit from civilian nuclear power could become a serious possibility," Bouveret said.

According to the report, France's nuclear program has been closely linked to the idea of a strong and economically independent France since its introduction following World War II.

State-controlled �lectricit� de France SA (EDF) provides three-quarters of the country's electricity via nuclear power plants; another majority-state-owned firm, Areva SA, is a supplier of nuclear reactors and other nuclear technologies, such as nuclear submarines, worldwide.

As a result, France has invested heavily in nuclear infrastructure, and has not yet followed its neighbor Germany in moving to reduce reliance on nuclear power in the wake of Fukushima nuclear disaster. (ANI)

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