France has urged international organizations to finance a new era of global nuclear power in a world facing scarcer fossil fuels and growing energy demands.
The request came as delegates from 60 energy-hungry nations arrived at Paris for a conference hosted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
While criticizing international finance bodies for “ostracizining” civil nuclear power, President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday promised to set up an international institute to promote atomic energy.
“I have decided to shift up a gear by creating an International Institute of Nuclear Energy that will include an international nuclear school,” he said.
The president also called on world and regional financial bodies — such as the World Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — to finance new nuclear projects in developing countries.
France has the world’s second largest nuclear sector and generates around 75 percent of its own electricity through nuclear power.
Analysts believe that the two-day conference is just a trade show for the French nuclear contractors, who lost a massive $20 billion deal to South Korea, after the United Arab Emirates asked the Asian country to supply four reactors with a lower offer.
The meeting also comes at a sensitive time for nuclear diplomacy.
France is currently leading efforts for fresh UN sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.
Israel, the US and some western countries accuse Iran of wanting to build nuclear weapons — an accusation that Iranian leaders have repeatedly denied, saying that the program is for peaceful purposes only.