French environment minister sees 'fewer' nuclear reactors by 2028

FILE PHOTO: Francois de Rugy, French Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, leaves following the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, October 17, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

PARIS (Reuters) - New French Environment Minister Francois de Rugy said he expected there would be fewer nuclear reactors in ten years, but gave no indication on how and when France would reduce its reliance on nuclear energy.

Unlike his predecessor Nicolas Hulot - who before he resigned late August repeatedly said state-owned EDF should shut down up to a third of its 58 nuclear reactors - de Rugy has shied away from specifying how France will reduce its reliance on nuclear for electricity from the current 75 percent share.

Asked by radio France Info whether France would have fewer reactors in ten years than today, de Rugy said: “The logic of course is that there will be fewer nuclear reactors operating, because that makes good sense, you cannot develop renewables otherwise. It is the sense of history and the target of the 2015 law on the energy transition, to which we are committed.”

He added that the government may have to “marginally change” the previous socialist government’s energy law but would keep the targets to lower greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, lower energy consumption and develop renewables.

He said nothing more about nuclear and gave no indication about when the government would release its long-awaited long-term energy strategy, which is expected this month but has been delayed several times.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq, Editing by Inti Landauro