It seems that a French SMR will be announced in a near future (SMR, Small Modular Reactor) to be developed by a consortium around the CEA, EDF, Areva and Naval Group. As a citizen, I have no privileged information but I fear that this is going to be another engineer’s project, as France does so well, “à la Concorde”, but devoid of inspirational planning.
Americans, Russians, Canadians, Chinese, are massively investing in SMR projects based on innovative techniques: Thorium molten salts, PWR recirculation by natural convection, etc. Yet France has well known competences in these fields but does not move on to the industrial prototyping stage. Will we have to buy American or Chinese patents 10 years from now?
My sentiment, which I hope is unjustified, is that French techno-political decision-makers, preoccupied with short-term problems or hesitating to kill dead-end projects, no longer have the capacity to provide a strategic vision.
What happened to the innovations invoked by President Macron? Couldn’t JEDI (Joint European Disruptive Initiative) members embrace the SMR problem?
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