France is more dependent on nuclear energy than any other country in the world, yet news of the Soviet nuclear accident does not seem to have frightened the French into worrying about their nation's 44 nuclear power plants.
After the oil crisis of 1973, President Valery Giscard d'Estaing was in a position to capitalize on the [Georges Pompidou] decision and accelerate French use of nuclear energy. He was helped by French development of a new, fast-speed breeder reactor and the fact that France has large uranium deposits. The breeder uses waste plutonium from the regular uranium, light-water reactor to create nuclear energy.
The nuclear industry grew so quickly in France that the government agency that oversees nuclear energy is now an exporter of nuclear technology.