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Fessenheim reactor to shut in 2016

President Hollande also tells environmental conference that shale gas exploration permits are being refused

13 September 2012

FRANCE'S oldest nuclear power plant, at Fessenheim in Alsace, is to close at the end of 2016, President Hollande has announced.

Speaking in front of 14 ministers and 300 representatives of environmental and business organisation at today's environmental conference at the Palais d’Iena in Paris he said he want to "make France the environmental 'nation of excellence'".

He repeated his election plea that he wanted to cut the country's dependency on nuclear power and said he wanted it cut from the present 75% to 25% by 2025.

This means a major increase in renewable energy supply and he said new appeals for wind and solar projects would be launched before the end of this year.

Hollande also rejected seven applications for permission to drill exploration wells for shale gas, citing the concerns of the local communities that would be affected. He did not specify which projects were affected.

And he said that his government aimed to improve the energy efficiency of four million homes which were "poorly or badly insulated". He said it was a "social programme, but also economic".

* Today Japan also announced that it is to cut its nuclear energy programme - with the aim of closing the final station in 30 years. The closures come after last year's Fukushima disaster.

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