France to Close Oldest Nuclear Reactor

France’s oldest nuclear power reactor will stop electricity production by April 2020, once a new generation EPR reactor in Flamanville is operational.

The closure of Fessenheim, in northeastern France, was a 2012 electoral promise by French President Francois Hollande.

The 1,650 megawatt (MW) capacity Flamanville 3 was 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.

France currently depends on nuclear power for over 75 percent of its electricity needs.