France’s oldest nuclear power plant at Fessenheim will be closed “as soon as possible” according to the country’s environment minister.

Delphine Batho said today that President Francois Hollande’s pre-election pledge to shut the 900 MW plant “will be kept” and Fessenheim – which on the French-German border – would be closed “at the latest in 2017”.

She added the closure would only come following negotiations to guarantee the region’s energy supply and preserve jobs.

“Fessenheim will close as soon as possible under technically and socially responsible conditions that will guarantee security of electricity supply, transformation of the site and jobs,” Batho told France Info radio.

France’s nuclear regulator Autorite de Surete Nucleaire has ordered EDF to reinforce the concrete base of Fessenheim’s reactors by the middle of next year or shut the facility.

Fessenheim’s operator, EDF, is to carry out the work even though the plant is slated for closure.

Two workers were injured at Fessenheim last week by a blast of escaping steam. Local officials said “oxygenated steam” was produced when hydrogen peroxide reacted with water in a reservoir.