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France to decommission 1.8GW Fessenheim nuclear power reactor by 2020

EBR Staff Writer Published 10 April 2017

The French government has issued a decree to stop electricity generation at its oldest nuclear power reactor, the 1.8GW Fessenheim by April 2020.

According to a decree issued by the government, the nuclear power reactor will continue with electricity production until the commissioning of a third generation pressurized water reactor, 1.65GW Flamanville 3 EPR reactor, as reported by Reuters.

Flamanville 3 is expected to start production by April 2020, leading to the decommissioning of the Fessenheim nuclear reactor to ensure that the country’s legal ceiling of 63.2GW of energy from nuclear sources. 

Both the Fessenheim and Flamanville reactors are owned by state-controlled electric utiliy, Électricité de France (EDF).

Fessenheim’s closure is in line with an electoral promise by French President Francois Hollande who vowed to stop the country’s reliance on nuclear energy and instead develop other renewable power sources.

Earlier, Hollande made a commitment to close power production at the 40-year old and France's oldest atomic plant by the end of his five-year tenure, which is scheduled to be completed in May 2017.

The French government decree said: "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.”

Last week, French state-controlled utility EDF has delayed plans to close its ageing 1,840MW Fessenheim nuclear plant located in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern part of the country.

Furthermore, EDF board has asked its chairman and chief executive to seek a government decree allowing the firm to operate the Fessenheim plant until a third new reactor is commissioned at the site which is scheduled in 2018.