France will shut down the Fessenheim nuclear reactor, the country's oldest nuclear power plant, at the end of June, with one of its reactors to be closed this weekend, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's office said on February 19.
"It is a first step in France's energy strategy, which aims to gradually rebalance between nuclear-produced electricity and renewable energy while continuing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," it said in a statement.
The Fessenheim 1 unit will be shut down on February 22, and the plant's complete decommissioning is scheduled for June 30.
The Fessenheim Nuclear Power Plant is located in the Fessenheim commune in the Haut-Rhin department in northeastern France, near the border with Germany.
"This is a historic moment for our energy policy, consistent with our objectives: reducing the share of nuclear (in electricity output), increasing that of renewables and closing coal-fired power plants," tweeted Ecology Minister Elisabeth Borne.
In an energy strategy unveiled in late 2018, President Emmanuel Macron pledged to cut the country's reliance on nuclear energy by reducing its share in power production to 50% by 2035 from 75% currently. Fourteen nuclear reactors of state-owned utility EDF's 58 now running would be closed by then.
Macron, who plays hard his green credentials at home and abroad, has promised to close France's four remaining coal-fired power plants by 2022, and to make the country carbon-free by 2050.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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