Contrasts in the anti‐nuclear movements in Britain and France have to be explained in their national political contexts, differences in historical experience, and dissimilarities of political culture. In France, the strongest opposition has emerged over nuclear energy as a reaction to the centralising traditions of the French state and the technocratic trends of modern society. In Britain, the question of nuclear energy is treated in a pragmatic and piecemeal fashion. In France, opposition to nuclear weapons is muted since they are perceived as a national symbol and as securing French independence. By contrast, opposition to nuclear weapons in Britain draws on the anti‐militarist traditions of the British labour movement and church. Despite these contrasts, there is the possibility of a growing convergence of the two countries’ anti‐nuclear movements.