A nuclear power plant in Dampierre-en-Burly, France (Image: Adobe)

“Nuclear”, “uranium”, “uranium exports” -- they are loaded terms in Australian politics. Less so in France, where nuclear energy has long been a political consensus topic and your average French person lives in relative harmony with the atom.

Twenty years ago, opinion polling showed about two-thirds of the French were in favour of nuclear energy. A survey last October, precisely 10 years after Fukushima, showed a drop but still more than 50% in favour. The public sector Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety found the French were not so much increasingly anti-nuclear as increasingly pro-renewables.

A recent investigation by Le Monde highlighted that over 16 years, three-quarters of French nuclear imports came from just four countries, including Australia.