PARIS, April 9 France's oldest nuclear power
reactor will stop electricity production by April 2020, once a
new generation EPR reactor under construction in Flamanville is
operational, according to a decree issued in the country's
official gazette on Sunday.
The closure of Fessenheim, in northeastern France, was a
2012 electoral promise by French President Francois Hollande,
who had promised to curb French dependency on nuclear power by
shutting down the reactor during his five-year term, while
developing other renewable energy sources.
But this was opposed by workers and executives at plant
operator EDF as well as opposition parties and some
candidates in the French April-May presidential election.
EDF board members 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.
It said Flamanville 3 was expected to enter into production
by April 2020 at the latest, and so as to respect France's legal
ceiling of 63.2 gigawatts of power from nuclear sources,
Fessenheim would have to halt production.
The decree to shut down the 1,800 megawatts Fessenheim plant
operated by the state-controlled utility in eastern France, came
a few days after the company's board decided not to vote to
immediately halt production.
The decree is in line with the board's decision that
authorised its chief executive to seek government approval to
keep Fessenheim open at least until six months before the
start-up of Flamanville 3.
(Reporting by Bate Felix. Editing by Jane Merriman)