French government orders Fessenheim closure

The French government has announced the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant on the Franco-German border by official decree.

Late last week board members had voted to keep the facility, the country’s oldest nuclear power plant, open until its Flamanville plant was operational.

According to Reuters electricity production will halt at the plant by April 2020, once the new generation EPR reactor at Flamanville commences.
Fessenheim nuclear power plant
Board members of state-controlled EDF authorised its chief executive to seek a decree from the government to keep Fessenheim open at least until six months before the start-up of the new reactor at the company’s Flamanville site.

“The decree repeals, at the request of the operator, the authorisation to operate the Fessenheim nuclear power plant owned by EDF, from date of entry into service of the Flamanville 3 EPR reactor,” the decree said.

The 1,650 MW capacity Flamanville 3 is expected to start production by April 2020 at the latest, and so to respect France’s legal ceiling of 63.2 gigawatts of power from nuclear sources, the 1,800 MW Fessenheim would have to halt production.

The closure is part of France’s obligation to diversify its energy sources as set by the Energy Transition Law, which provides for 40 percent of renewable energy in electricity production by 2030, Royal said.

Workers’ unions in the energy sector, who are against the shutdown of Fessenheim, condemned the publication of the decree saying it was a face-saving measure by the government for electoral gains. The unions said they would appeal it.

“This decree is illegitimate and devoid of any economic and industrial rationality,” one of the unions, CFE Energies, said.

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