The idea is to install two small nuclear power stations using a new technology.

Christopher Gygès, a member of the New Caledonian government, has caused quite a stir with his proposal. The Minister for Energy is in favour of the development of nuclear energy. He is following in the footsteps of French President Emmanuel Macron in this area. France, one of the world leaders in nuclear power, is currently developing the SMR (small modular reactor) technology. Christopher Gyges believes that nuclear power will help to decarbonise the energy mix while making it competitive. It also means lower electricity bills for New Caledonians. These SMRs would be manufactured in France and assembled in kit form in New Caledonia. Two would be needed to ensure local electricity production.

The technology is not yet ready

This announcement is only a forecast. The technology is not yet perfected. The stated objective is to bring these plants to market by 2040. For the moment, SMRs are only prototypes. France is not the only country involved. The USA, Russia and China also have projects. There is no doubt that this eventuality will provoke a reaction from New Caledonia’s Anglo-Saxon neighbours and Polynesia. Polynesia has a troubled relationship with nuclear power… and the debate has only just begun…