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Nuclear Last updated: May, 2015

France's involvement in the development of nuclear energy dates back to the years immediately prior to WWII, when the so-called "Paris Group" was instrumental in sustaining a chain reaction through the use of a moderator. The Paris Group—comprised of four scientists at the College de France in Paris—showed that when fission occurs in a uranium nucleus two or three neutrons are released, creating the possibility for a chain reaction.

However, it was not until the 1950s that France embarked on a nuclear weapons program; its first successful nuclear test was carried out in the Sahara Desert of Algeria in 1960. The rationale for France developing its own nuclear weapons program has been largely attributed to reasons of security and prestige.

Current Force Configuration

France's maintains up to 300 warheads and deploys submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) and fighter aircraft. In February 2015, President François Hollande reaffirmed this warhead limit, which was first announced by former President Nicholas Sarkozy in 2008. [1]

The sea-based leg of the French nuclear force consists of four Le Triomphant-class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBN), based at Ile Longue, Bretagne on the Atlantic coast. While at least one SSBN is always deployed, three vessels must be operational at all times. [2] The submarines are fitted with 16 M45 or M51 domestically-manufactured SLBMs that can carry up to six TN75 warheads. [3] The French Navy is currently transitioning from the aging M45 SLBMs to newer M51s. The newest submarine in the French fleet, Le Terrible, entered into service in September 2010, and is fully equipped with the extended-range M51.1 (estimated at 6,000 km). [4] France began to place M51s on its remaining three SSBNs in 2010 with plans to complete the process by 2020. [5]

The French air-based deterrent consists of four squadrons of fighter aircraft located at four bases. Land-based squadrons―deployed at Avord, Istres, and Saint-Dizier―comprise of 23 Mirage 2000N aircraft and 20 Rafales, both fitted with ASMP-A air-launched cruise missiles (ALCM). [6] France also deploys a squadron of up to 24 newer Rafale M aircraft on the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, based out of Toulon. [7] In 2011, France completed the replacement of the ASMP ALCM, which had been carried by French fighter aircraft since 1986, with the upgraded ASMP-A. The ASMP-A has an increased range of 300 km, and is fitted with the new 300-kiloton TNA warhead. [8] In February 2015, Francois Hollande revealed that, "France…possesses 54 AMP-A missiles," a figure which had not been previously released. [9]

Modernization

France is in the process of updating both its sea and air-based nuclear forces pursuant to a new Military Programming Law passed in December 2013. [10] In February 2015, President François Hollande announced that Paris would allocate 12.3 % (180 billion euros) of its annual defense budget towards the enhancement of its nuclear deterrent capabilities until 2019. [11]

In addition to the ongoing replacement of M45 SLBMs with the M51 on its Le Triomphant-class SSBNs, France aims to begin deployment of an improved version, the M51.2, in 2016, which has a range of 9,000 km. [12] The M51.2 will be equipped with a new warhead known as the TNO. [13] Paris has also initiated studies on a third generation SSBN, with hopes of replacing its current vessels starting in 2035. [14] This new SSBNs will be armed with further improved M51.3 SLBMs. [15]

Paris is also in the process of replacing its entire Mirage 2000N fleet with the new Rafale F3 fighter jet. The transition should be completed by 2018. [16] In addition, France aims to integrate the ASMP-A cruise missile on all new Rafale jets by 2018 as well. [17] In 2014, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced France had commenced studies on a new airborne, hypersonic missile known as the air-sol nucléaire fourth-generation (ASN4G) to replace the ASMP-A. [18] The new missile is planned to enter service in the 2030s, but before that time, France will upgrade the ASMP-A in the mid-2020s. [19]

In November 2010, France and the United Kingdom signed a bilateral agreement allowing for joint projects "to test the safety of their nuclear warheads" without performing actual nuclear explosive tests. [20] Activities will involve construction of the EPURE simulation facility in Valduc, France, where scientists from both countries will conduct work on the safety and security of their respective nations' warheads. A joint Technology Development Center will also be established in Aldermaston, UK, to develop simulation technology for the center at Valduc. [21] The Valduc facility became operational in 2014 with construction costs split equally between France and the United Kingdom. [22]

Force Posture and Doctrine

France relies on nuclear deterrence as an ultimate guarantee of French sovereignty. [23] French officials describe the function of nuclear deterrence as "aiming to protect [the country] from any form of state actor aggression against the [country's] vital interests, regardless of its origin or its form." [24] Over the years, this core policy has been reaffirmed by various presidents, (Chirac, Sarkozy, and Holland) as well as in the 2008 and 2013 White Papers on National Defense and Security. [25] Although the definition of France's vital interests is left vague, analysts agree that it covers the free exercise of sovereignty as well as integrity of national and overseas territories, and extends beyond the protection against nuclear attack. [26] For example, in 2008 President Sarkozy stated "Our nuclear deterrence protects us from any aggression against our vital interests emanating from a state―wherever it may come from and whatever form it may take." [27]

Arms Reductions

In 1996, President Jacques Chirac introduced a number of reforms to France's nuclear forces, including scaling back the strategic submarine fleet from five vessels to four (in 1991 France reduced its fleet of Le Redoutable-class SSBNs from six boats to five after the lead vessel,Le Redoutable, was decommissioned), withdrawing aging Mirage IVP bombers from service, and dismantling the Plateau d'Albion land-based ballistic missile site. The decision to disband Plateau d'Albion is significant as France became the only state to have designed, developed, and dismantled its land-based nuclear missiles in their entirety. During a speech delivered in March 2008 in Cherbourg, then President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that the "number of nuclear weapons, missiles and aircraft will be reduced by one-third." [28] As a result of this reduction, the country would have no more than 300 nuclear warheads in total. This declaration of total (as opposed to operational) warheads represents a high-level of French transparency with regards to its nuclear weapons arsenal. However, France's commitment to retaining its nuclear deterrent remains strong and the new administration has no plans for further reductions.

Disarmament

Historically, France has adopted a conservative approach towards nuclear disarmament. This can be seen today in the more cautious approach taken by French officials in comparison to their British and American counterparts. [29] Such conservatism can be explained by the strong link that exists between the possession of nuclear weapons and feelings of national independence, something that is reflected in a general public that is relatively pro-nuclear. While French opinion polls on this subject are rare, one conducted by the French Ministry of Defense in 2006 found that 61 percent of the population believes France requires nuclear weapons in order to defend herself. [30]

French officials have expressed support for the eventual goal of complete nuclear disarmament, but have been reticent to push for multilateral negotiations towards this end, emphasizing that "the strategic context that [would] allow for it," does not yet exist. [31] This is partly due to them being unconvinced that disarmament will result in increased security. Although President Sarkozy's Cherbourg speech did address the disarmament subject directly, something that marks a subtle change in French policy, it also urged caution and reinforced the message that France will continue to maintain its nuclear weapons at a level of "strict sufficiency." [32] The Ministry of Defense continues to highlight its Nuclear Transparency and Security Law, a law that guarantees a commitment to nuclear security through the maintenance of a nuclear weapons arsenal. [33]

Nevertheless, France has taken some practical steps towards disarmament. In September 1996, Paris signed and two years later ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), and dismantled its nuclear testing sites at the Pacific Testing Center (CEP) in 1998. [34] France also no longer produces fissile material for nuclear weapons, ceasing production of plutonium in 1992 and production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in 1996. [35] France announced and initiated the dismantlement of its production facilities at Marcoule and Pierrelatte in 1996. [36] The Pierrelatte facility was completely dismantled by 2008, while similar efforts at the Marcoule plant are expected to continue through 2035. [37] Consistent with this policy, France has repeatedly pushed for negotiations on a verifiable Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty within the Conference on Disarmament, believing "these negotiations constitute the next logical step at the multilateral level [towards] creating the conditions for a world without nuclear weapons." [38]

Civilian Nuclear Sector

Home to 58 nuclear power plants generating about 75 percent of the country's electricity, France has a robust civil nuclear sector. [39] France is also Europe's largest provider of electricity generated from nuclear power, which it regularly supplies to neighboring countries such as Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. [40]

The origins of French nuclear energy policy stem from the first oil shock of 1973, after which the government decided to rapidly expand the country's nuclear energy sector and to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. Beginning in 1974, an aggressive nuclear power program was launched based on Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) technology and France has since invested more than $160 billion in its nuclear program. [41] As a result, the country is now largely energy independent and produces relatively low carbon emissions (some of the lowest CO2 emissions per capita in the world in developed countries). [42]

All of France's reactors are currently PWRs designed by Areva (the French nuclear energy company), but the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) is also in the early process of designing Generation IV reactors. Three fourth-generation technologies are being pursued: gas-cooled fast reactors; sodium-cooled fast reactors; and very high temperature gas-cooled reactors. [43] Areva, in conjunction with the German company Siemens, is also developing the European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) at a nuclear site in Flamanville, Normandie. In mid-2004 the board of EDF decided to build a demonstration unit for an expected series of 1650 MWe Areva EPRs, a decision which was confirmed in 2006. [44] Construction of the EPR at Flamanville began in December 2007, and was initially slated for completion by 2012. [45] However, the reactor is now scheduled to begin operations in 2017. [46]

France is also an active international supplier of civilian nuclear technology, having previously exported PWR reactor technology to Belgium, South Africa, South Korea and China. [47] Both China and Finland are currently building French-designed reactors and Beijing recently signed an 8 billion Euro contract to buy two Areva EPRs. [48] Areva had also initiated talks to export EPR technology to Abu Dhabi, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. [49] However, the company halted development projects in the United States and lost its tender with Abu Dhabi. [50] France and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2009 for the supply of two EPR reactors, but a final commercial agreement has not been reached to date. [51]

On 27 June 2011, President Sarkozy announced his government's intention to borrow and invest one billion Euros into the French civilian nuclear sector, and particularly into fourth-generation technology. [52] Sarkozy's speech linked the plan to maintaining French energy independence, creating economic growth, and improving nuclear security. [53] His successor, Francois Hollande, has been less enthusiastic about the future of France's nuclear energy sector. By 2025 Hollande would like to reduce the amount of electricity produced by nuclear plants from 75 to about 50 percent. In 2014, he also announced plans to close the Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant by 2017 due to safety concerns. [54]

Fuel Cycle Facilities

France imports uranium oxide from Canada and Niger, while most fuel cycle services are carried out domestically by Areva. [55] The country's fuel-cycle facilities can be categorized as follows:

  • Conversion - Natural uranium is converted to hexafluoride at several different plants. Natural uranium is converted to tetrafluoride at the newer Malvesi plant, and is then converted into hexafluoride at either the Comurhex Pierrelatte plant or the Pierrelatte plant in Tricastin. [56]
  • Enrichment - Gaseous diffusion takes place at the Eurodif plant, Tricastin. In 2003 Areva also agreed to purchase a 50 percent stake in the Urenco Enrichment Technology Company (ETC). [57] This deal will provide Areva with access to Urenco centrifuge technology. A new enrichment plant, Georges Besse II, started running in 2011. [58]
  • Fuel Fabrication - Areva carries out fuel fabrication in multiple plants in both France and Belgium. Once spent fuel has been reprocessed at La Hague in Normandy, plutonium is then fabricated at the Melox plant near Marcoule to produce mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. [59]
  • Reprocessing - Reprocessing is carried out by Areva at La Hague, where back-end services are provided for France and other countries. [60]

Nuclear Fusion

In 2005, France was awarded the right to host the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), an attempt to demonstrate the feasibility of producing commercial energy from fusion. The experimental reactor is located at a CEA (Atomic Energy Commission) research and development site at Cadarache in southern France. Partners in the project include the European Union (EU), the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea, and China. [61] Site preparation began in 2007 and facility construction began in July 2010. Cadarache narrowly beat another prospective site, Rokkasho in Japan, partly because the EU agreed to pay 45 percent of the plant's construction costs. The facility is expected to begin operations in 2023. [62]

Fissile Material

According to an August 2014 declaration of civilian plutonium and HEU holdings to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), France possessed 43.2 tons (t) of separated plutonium in product stores at reprocessing plants and 6.6t held up in the course of fuel fabrication at the end of 2013. [63] In addition, France declared 27.7t of plutonium in unirradiated MOX fuel and 0.6t "held elsewhere." [64] France also reported an estimated 115.2t of plutonium contained in spent fuel at civilian reactor sites, 147.3t in spent fuel at reprocessing plants, and 6.4t in spent fuel "held elsewhere." [65]

The report also details French stocks of civilian HEU. At the end of 2013 France possessed 860kg of HEU at fuel fabrication plants, 413kg at civilian reactor sites, 1841kg at laboratories and research centers, 106kg of irradiated HEU at civilian reactor sites, and 1497kg of irradiated HEU at other locations. [66]

Sources:
[1] Francois Hollande, "Discours sur la dissuasion nucléaire-Déplacement auprès des forces aériennes stratégiques," February 19, 2015, www.elysee.fr; Nicola Sarkozy, "Déclaration de M. Nicolas Sarkozy Président de la République, sur le Libre blanc sur la défense et la sécurité nationale, la dissuasion nucléaire et sur la nonprolilfération des armes nucléaires, à Cherbourg le 21 mars 2008," March 21, 2008, www.discours.vie-publique.fr.
[2] Les Décodeurs, "De Quoi l'Arsenal Nucléaire de la France Est-Il Composé?" Le Monde, February 20, 2015, www.lemonde.fr.
[3] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2014," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 2014, p. 98-99; "The Military Balance 2009," International Institute of Strategic Studies, (London: Routledge, 2009), p. 119; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 2013: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, 44th ed, Oxford University Press, 2013.
[4] "La dissuasion nucléaire," (The Nuclear Deterrent), Ministère de la défense (Ministry of Defense), last modified 16 April 2013, accessed 16 June 2014, www.defense.gouv.fr; Stéphane Ferrard, "SNLE NG + M51 = une capacité de frappe intercontinentale," Défense et Sécurité Internationale, No.36, April 2008.
[5] Robert Norris, "French Nuclear Forces, 2008" Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Vol. 64, No. 4 (September 2008).
[6] Véronique Guillermard, "Dissuasion nucléaire, la France ne baisse pas la garde", Ministry of Defense through Le Figaro, February 20, 2015, www.lefigaro.fr; "The Military Balance 2009," International Institute of Strategic Studies, (London: Routledge, 2009), p. 119 and "Le missile M51, pièce maitresse de la force de frappe francaise" (The M51 Missile, the Dominating Weapon of France's Strike Force), Le Figaro, May 2013, www.lefigaro.fr.
[7] Eric Houri, "Combien le Charles de Gaulle peut-il emporter d'avions," Mer et Marine, October 7, 2010, www.meretmarine.com.
[8] Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris, "Worldwide deployments of nuclear weapons, 2009," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November-December 2009, p. 91; Hans M. Kristensen, "France," in Assuring Destruction Forever, ed. Ray Acheson (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, 2012), p. 27-30; "ASMP-A" Missile Threat, April 5, 2013, missilethreat.com.
[9] Francois Hollande, "Discours sur la dissuasion nucléaire-Déplacement auprès des forces aériennes stratégiques," February 19, 2015, www.elysee.fr.
[10] Le ministère de la défense, (Ministry of Defense), "Loi n° 2013-1168 du 18 décembre 2013: Loi de programmation militaire 2014-2019" (Military Programming Law), www.senat.fr.
[11] Véronique Guillemard, "Dissuasion nucléair: la France ne baisse pas la garde," Le Figaro, February 19, 2015, www.lefigaro.fr.
[12] Véronique Guillemard, "Dissuasion nucléaire: la France ne baisse pas la garde," Le Figaro, February 19, 2015, www.lefigaro.fr; Stéphane Ferrard, "SNLE NG + M51 = une capacité de frappe intercontinentale," Défense et Sécurité Internationale, No.36, April 2008.
[13] Véronique Guillemard, "Dissuasion nucléaire: la France ne baisse pas la garde," Le Figaro, February 19, 2015, www.lefigaro.fr.
[14] Jean-Yves Le Drian, "Discours de clôture, colloque pour les 50 ans de la dissuasion," November 20, 2014, www.defense.gouv.fr.
[15] Jean-Yves Le Drian, "Discours de clôture, colloque pour les 50 ans de la dissuasion, " November 20, 2014, www.defense.gouv.fr.
[16] Véronique Guillemard, "Dissuasion nucléair: la France ne baisse pas la garde," Le Figaro, February 19, 2015, www.lefigaro.fr.
[17] Dominic Perry, "France approves latest Rafale upgrage plan," Flight Global, January 10, 2014, www.flightglobal.com; Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 2013: Armaments, Disarmament and International Security, 44th ed, Oxford University Press, 2013.
[18] Jean Yves Le Drian "Discours de clôture du colloquepour les 50 ans de la dissuasion," French Ministry of Defense, November 21, 2014, www.defense.gouv.fr; Pierre Tran, "France Studies Nuclear Missile Replacement," Defense News, November 29, 2014. archive.defensenews.com.
[19] Pierre Tran, "France Studies Nuclear Missile Replacement," Defense News, November 29, 2014, archive.defensenews.com.
[20] "UK-France Summit 2010 Declaration on Defence and Security Cooperation," 10 Downing Street, 2 November 2010, www.number10.gov.uk; Adrian Croft and Emmanuel Jarry, "France, UK agree to unprecedented military cooperation," Reuters, November 1, 2010, www.reuters.com.
[21] Tereza Pultarova, "UK Invests £48.78m in Nuclear Cooperation with France," E&T June 25, 2013, www.eandt.theiet.org.
[22] "Cameron and Sarkozy hail UK-France defence treaties," BBC News, 2 November 2010, www.bbc.co.uk. And "UK- France co-operation on nuclear weapons deepen as France's Laser Mégajoule becomes operational," Nuclear Information Service, December 9, 2014, www.nuclearinfor.org.
[23] In reference to nuclear deterrence, the 2013 Livre Blanc states that, "La dissuasion nucléaire est l'ultime garantie de notre souveraineté," Livre blanc de la défense et sécurité nationale, May 2013, p. 20, www.gouvernement.fr.
[24] 2013 Livre Blanc, p. 75.
[25] Speech of President Jacques Chirac during a visit to the French strategic forces at Ille Longue, Brest, 19 January 2006, www.ambafrance-au.org; and President Nicolas Sarkozy, "Presentation of Le Terrible in Cherbourg, 21 March 2008, www.carnegieendowment.org; "Hollande exclut l'abandon de la dissuasion nucléaire proposé par Rocard," Le Parisien, 20 June 2013, www.leparisien.fr; "Livre Blanc: Défense et Sécurité Nationale," Ministère de la Défense, 29 April 2013; "The main thrust of the White Paper: Twelve key points and new orientations," Ministère de la Défense, 2013.
[26] George Friedman, "France's Strategy," Geopolitical Weekly: Stratfor, 15 May 2012.
[27] President Nicolas Sarkozy, "Presentation of Le Terrible in Cherbourg," 21 March 2008, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[28] President Nicolas Sarkozy, "Presentation of Le Terrible in Cherbourg," 21 March 2008, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[29] Bruno Tertrais, "France and Nuclear Disarmament: The Meaning of the Sarkozy Speech," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1 May 2008, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[30] The Ministry of Defense, Les Français et la Défense, 2006, in Bruno Tertrais, "La dissuasion nucléaire en 2030," Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, www.frstrategie.org, December 2006, p.40. Individuals were asked "Could a country like France defend herself without a deterrence force (nuclear)?"
[31] Francois Hollande, "Discours sur la dissuasion nucléaire-Déplacement auprès des forces aériennes stratégiques," February 19, 2015, www.elysee.fr.
[32] President Nicolas Sarkozy, "Presentation of Le Terrible in Cherbourg," 21 March 2008, www.carnegieendowment.org.
[33] "Loi relative à la transparence et à la sécurité en matière nucléaire/Loi n°2006-686," (Nuclear Transparency and Security Law), 13 June 2006, www.senat.fr.
[34] "Reporting by France on actions 5, 20 and 21 of the 2010 NPT review Conference Final Document," Report by France, 2014, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[35] "Nuclear disarmament: France's practical commitment," Working paper submitted by France to the 2010 NPT Review Conference, April 14, 2010, NPT/CONF.2010/WP.33.
[36] " Opérateur industriel pour le CEA," www.Areva.fr and Pierre Messmer, "L'action de la France en matière de désarmement, "www.ladocumentationfrancaise.fr.
[37] "Reporting by France on actions 5, 20 and 21 of the 2010 NPT review Conference Final Document," Report by France, 2014, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[38] "Reporting by France on actions 5, 20 and 21 of the 2010 NPT review Conference Final Document," Report by France, 2014, www.reachingcriticalwill.org.
[39] "Nuclear Power in France," World Nuclear Association, March 2015, www.world-nuclear.org.
[40] "Nuclear Power in France," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear.org, 16 June 2014.
[41] "Nuclear Energy in France," Embassy of France in the United States, www.ambafrance-us.org.
[42] "CO2 emssions (metric tons per capita," Report by the World Bank, 2014, www.worldbank.com
[43] "L'énergie nucléaire" (Nuclear Energy) Electricité de France (EDF) Brochure 2014, http://energie.edf.com.
[44] "Nuclear Power in France," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear.org, 16 June 2014.
[45] AFP, "Nouveau Retard pour le Chantier l'EPR de Flamanville, "Le Monde, November 18, 2014, www.lemonde.fr.
[46] Jean-Michel Bezat, "EDF et AREVA veulent rendre l'EPR enfin exportable," (EDF and AREVA would like the European Pressurized Reactor to finally become exportable). Le Monde, www.lemonde.fr.
[47] "Nuclear Power in France," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear.org, February 2014.
[48] AREVA "New builds," 2014, www.areva.fr and Agence France Presse Staff, "China approves construction of French nuclear reactors," October28, 2009, www.afp.fr.
[49] Dave Clark "French nuclear export drive tainted by safety fears," AFP, 4 November 2009.
[50] World Nuclear News, "US EPR Plans Suspended," World Nuclear News, March 6, 2015, www.world-nuclear-news.org; Francetv Info, "Areva: Ce qu'il Faut Savoir sur le Désastre," France tv info, March 4, 2015, www.francetvinfo.fr.
[51] Rahul Wadke, "Areva 'ready to discuss' Transfer of n-Technology," The Hindu Business Line, March 10, 2015, www.thehindubusinessline.com.
[52] Gabrielle Parsunni and William Horobin, "Sarkozy: To Invest EUR 1 Bln In 4th Generation Nuclear Reactors," The Wall Street Journal, 27 June 2011, http://online.wsj.com.
[53] Gabrielle Parsunni and William Horobin, "Sarkozy: To Invest EUR 1 Bln In 4th Generation Nuclear Reactors," The Wall Street Journal, 27 June 2011, http://online.wsj.com.
[54] Rob Broomby, "France struggles to cut down on nuclear power," BBC News, 10 Jan 2014, www.bbc.com.
[55] "Operations," AREVA, www.areva.com.
[56] "Operations," AREVA, www.areva.com.
[57] "Nuclear Power in France," World Nuclear Association, www.world-nuclear.org, 16 June 2014.
[58] "Operations," AREVA, www.areva.com.
[59] Areva, Operations, Recycling Spent Fuel, www.areva.com, 2014.
[60] Areva, Operations, Recycling Spent Fuel, www.areva.com.
[61] Robin McKie, "Nuclear fusion dream hit by EU's cash dilemma," The Guardian, 6 June 2010, www.guardian.co.uk; "Building ITER," ITER Organization, 2013, www.iter.org.
[62] Sumit Paul-Choudhury, "Complex Fusion Reactor Takes Shape as Start Date Slips," New Scientist, May 16, 2014, www.newscientist.com; Steve Connor, "One giant leap for mankind: £13bn Iter project makes breakthrough in the quest for nuclear fusion, a solution for climate change and an age of clean, cheap energy," The Independent, 27 April 2013, www.independent.co.uk.
[63] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Communication Received from France Concerning its Policies regarding the Management of Plutonium, Statements on the Management of Plutonium: Statements on the Management of Plutonium and of High Enriched Uranium," INFCIRC/549/Add.5/18, August 15, 2014; Pavel Podvig, "French civilian plutonium and HEU in 2013," International Panel on Fissile Materials Blog, August 15, 2014, www.fissilematerials.org.
[64] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Communication Received from France Concerning its Policies regarding the Management of Plutonium, Statements on the Management of Plutonium: Statements on the Management of Plutonium and of High Enriched Uranium," INFCIRC/549/Add.5/18, August 15, 2014; Pavel Podvig, "French civilian plutonium and HEU in 2013," International Panel on Fissile Materials Blog, August 15, 2014, www.fissilematerials.org.
[65] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Communication Received from France Concerning its Policies regarding the Management of Plutonium, Statements on the Management of Plutonium: Statements on the Management of Plutonium and of High Enriched Uranium," INFCIRC/549/Add.5/18, August 15, 2014; Pavel Podvig, "French civilian plutonium and HEU in 2013," International Panel on Fissile Materials Blog, August 15, 2014, www.fissilematerials.org.
[66] International Atomic Energy Agency, "Communication Received from France Concerning its Policies regarding the Management of Plutonium, Statements on the Management of Plutonium: Statements on the Management of Plutonium and of High Enriched Uranium," INFCIRC/549/Add.5/18, August 15, 2014; Pavel Podvig, "French civilian plutonium and HEU in 2013," International Panel on Fissile Materials Blog, August 15, 2014, www.fissilematerials.org.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

Get the Facts on France

  • Maintains an arsenal of approximately 300 nuclear weapons
  • Manufactured significant quantities of Sarin and VX nerve agents during the 1960s, but asserted in 1988 that it no longer possessed or produced chemical weapons.
  • Currently developing a next-generation ballistic missile for its SSBNs