Instead of abandoning nuclear power, France has opened a nuclear energy institute. France currently generates 78 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, the highest percentage in the world. Despite the 11 March nuclear debacle in Fukushima, Japan, France has pressed forward with a government-private initiative, on 27 June opening the l’Institut international de l’énergie nucléaire (I2EN), the institute reported on its website, http://www.i2en.fr/fr/.
The I2EN’s goal is to promote French civilian nuclear training abroad. Signifying the importance that the French government attaches to the establishment, the I2EN inauguration at the France’s Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique (CEA) center in Saclay near Paris in the presence of Valerie Pecresse, minister of higher education and research, and Eric Besson, minister for industry, energy, and digital economy.
In the field of nuclear energy, I2EN will focus on bilateral cooperation in training and policy advice for foreign students coming to France, as it can in addition call on the expertise of its group of 24 partners in the nuclear field.
The I2EN was established in March 2008 at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development International Conference on Access to Civil Nuclear Energy. Another French nuclear initiative, the JANNUS platform (ion-beam simulation of materials irradiation), distributed throughout the Saclay and Orsay CEA sites, was inaugurated at the same time as I2EN. As the research facility enables the experimental study of the behavior of building materials when exposed to neutron irradiation, it is intended to increase understanding of the effect of structural aging phenomena in nuclear power plants.