France's EDF sets date for nuclear plant shutdown

Group of white buildings beside water
The Fessenheim nuclear plant in Alsace opened in 1978

Country's oldest nuclear power plant at Fessenheim will close by June 30, 2020

France's oldest nuclear power plant will finally shut down in June 2020, State-owned electricity production company EDF has announced.

The first reactor at the Fessenheim plant will be permanently closed on February 22, 2020, EDF said in a press release on Monday, and the second reactor will shut down for good on June 30.

The two dates are, for once, earlier than initially envisaged. The plant's closure - a promise of former President Francois Hollande - was originally scheduled for the end of 2016, but had been delayed several times.

This time, however, the closure dates are ahead of schedule. Former Environment Secretary François de Rugy had said the reactors would close in March and August 2020.

Fessenheim, in northeastern France, was commissioned in 1978, and it had been earmarked for closure as EDF focused on more modern nuclear power plants. It currently employs 850 EDF staff and 350 more workers linked to service providers.

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