Nuclear Policy

French Nuclear Policy

France’s independent nuclear deterrence has been the main pillar of its defence strategy for sixty years. The French nuclear policy, as well as its European and allied dimensions, however, tends to be misunderstood abroad, including by those who rely on French military involvement in the pursuit of their national security goals.

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Iran’s Defence Industry: What’s in Stock for Russia?

Albeit heavily sanctioned and exhausted by the Islamic revolution and the war with Iraq, Iran has managed to upbuild a self-sufficient defence industry from the ashes and demonstrate a robust weapon system manufacturing capacity over the last decades. It started with low-tech reverse-engineering of 3rd generation fighters and tanks and ended with indigenously producing high-accuracy and long-range ballistic missiles.

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France’s Nuclear-Weapons Policy: What’s in It for Europe?

French president Emmanuel Macron caused quite a stir with his recent statement¹ that France would not retaliate with nuclear weapons against Russia if the Kremlin launched a nuclear strike on Ukraine. A follow-on tweet² from his official Twitter account saying “we do not want a world war” only added to the backlash on social media. While this messaging was in line with that from other allies—and did not express any intention to abandon Ukraine for the sake of avoiding a nuclear war—it was widely interpreted as, at the very least, undermining deterrence³. Although some of the harsher reactions are quite misguided, the episode raises a legitimate question about whether the French nuclear deterrent carries much weight in protecting Europe as a whole from rogue nuclear regimes.

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Developing Nuclear Energy in Estonia: An Amplifier of Strategic Partnership with the United States?

Estonia’s climate neutrality commitments and its simultaneous pursuit of national security mean that it will need to develop and cultivate new zero- or low-carbon, affordable, secure and safe domestic sources of energy. Nuclear energy is increasingly regarded as one of the critical ingredients of successful transition to climate-neutral energy system and as a viable part of the future decarbonised mix of energy supply. Therefore, Estonia is officially considering the possibility to adopt nuclear energy generated by new-design Small Modular Reactors (SMR).

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Europe’s Nuclear Energy Vulnerability

While a ban on Russian oil and gas is being actively discussed in the EU and US, there is no such conversation about the civil nuclear energy supply chain from Russia to Western countries. Rosatom’s supply and construction contracts in Europe have so far allowed it to avoid sanctions. Europe’s energy conversation will also need to include its dependence on Russia’s nuclear capacity.

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TASS/Scanpix

NATO’s Hypersonic Challenge

Russia is investing in the development of a variety of hypersonic delivery systems. These can travel to targets at five or more times the speed of sound, elude defences by evasive manoeuvring, and deliver munitions with great precision.

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