EDF shuts down the Fessenheim nuclear power plant (France)

30 Jun 2020

EDF has shut down the second reactor of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in eastern France and deconnected the power plant from the national power network. The first 880 MW pressurized water reactor (PWR) of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in northeastern France has been stopped in February 2020 and the second 880 MW one had to stop operations by the end of June 2020. The fuel removal process is expected to be completed by 2023 and the power plant is not expected to be fully dismantled before 2040 at the earliest.

The shutdown of Fessenheim, the oldest nuclear power plant in France with two reactors commissioned in 1978, was part of a 2012 presidential election pledge to stop the nuclear power plant by the end of the five-year term (by May 2017) and to cut the share of nuclear power in the French power mix from over 75% currently to 50% by 2025. Delays in the commissioning of the 1,650 MW Flamanville nuclear power project prompted authorities to postpone the Fessenheim shutdown to coincide with the EPR startup (now expected between late 2022 and 2024). The 50% nuclear cap has been postponed to 2035 under the new energy and climate act on carbon neutrality by 2050.

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