French Minister Still Sees Nuclear Plant Close End 2016
French Energy and Environment Minister Delphine Batho says she believes that a nuclear plant in eastern France will be shut down by the end of 2016, even though the process of shutting down a reactor is said to take at least five years, according to an interview with French daily Le Monde released Friday.
French nuclear safety agency Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, or ASN, earlier this month said to shut down the Fessenheim plant’s nuclear reactors, as pledged by President Francois Hollande during his election campaign last year, would take at least five years due to the preliminary phases of studies, reports and controls.
“In reality, when we take into account what everyone involved is saying about the time they need, four years should suffice,” Ms. Batho is quoted as saying.
Following the Fukushima nuclear disaster in March 2011, Mr. Hollande decided to focus on renewable energies and to lower the share of nuclear power in France’s energy mix to 50% from 80% by 2025. He also decided to shut down the country’s oldest nuclear power plant, Fessenheim, before the end of his mandate in 2017.
Yet the decision has faced stiff opposition from business lobbies and nuclear workers, as well as the plant’s owner, state-controlled power company Electricite de France SA (>> EDF), as nuclear power is one of the cheapest sources of energy in Europe, granting French companies a competitive edge.
Fessenheim’s reactors have also been deemed to be perfectly fit and good for another 10 years by the ASN, which requested minor upgrading work to abide by the latest safety standards.
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