Closure of the Fessenheim power plant in 2020

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Elisabeth Borne, Minister for Ecological and Solidarity Transition, today received a request from EDF to revoke the operating licence for the Fessenheim power plant. This important step will irreversibly close the power station in the summer of 2020. The Government says it is fully committed to the success of the process of reconversion of the site, according to a press release from the Ministry.

This request for repeal follows the compensation protocol for the plant, which has just been signed by the Minister. It ratifies the prospect of a shutdown of the Fessenheim power plant in 2020, with a shutdown of reactor No. 1 on 22 February and reactor No. 2 on 30 June 2020.

The indemnification protocol sets the principles for the compensation of the company by the State, consisting of a fixed part linked to the anticipation of the costs linked to the closure and a variable part reflecting the loss of revenue for EDF.

As part of the Territory projectsigned on 1 February 2019, where, in accordance with the commitments of the President of the Republic confirmed on the occasion of the presentation of the French Strategy for Energy and Climate in November 2018, the two reactors of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant were to be shut down by the summer of 2020.

The Government says it is mobilized to accompany the closure of the plant. This is to be implemented with the support of local authorities and the active participation of EDF, an ambitious and exemplary conversion strategy of personnel and for the region, in order to support its transformation through economic development projects, the development of renewable energies, the greening of mobility and innovations. A reclassification unit has also been set up to support the plant's employees.

In the press release, the Ministry emphasises that France is continuing to implement its energy-climate strategy, an important part of which aims to diversify its sources of electricity production and supply. 

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In accordance with the nuclear capacity ceiling set by the Energy Transition Act, the Fessenheim power plant had to be shut down at the latest by the time the Flamanville EPR was commissioned. In the context of the delays currently being experienced by the latter, the Government wished that the closure of Fessenheim should not be postponed once again. Indeed, the territory, the company's employees and the subcontractors must be given visibility in order to implement this important transition.
The State and EDF have thus agreed during the preparation of the multiannual energy programming on the optimal nature of a plant closure in 2020, finally allowing to remove the doubts related to the closure date. Next year is the fourth ten-yearly visit of the plant's first reactor. In order to continue operation, EDF would have had to make major investments that would not have paid off by the time Flamanville is commissioned.
A Steering Committee (Copil) has been set up to monitor commitments and projects. The last Copil met on 26 September 2019 under the chairmanship of Secretary of State Emmanuelle Wargon, and the next one will be held in early 2020.  

Why shut down the Fessenheim power plant?

Located in the Haut-Rhin region, the Fessenheim power plant was commissioned in 1977: it is the oldest of France's 19 nuclear power plants.

The closure of the plant is part of one of France's major energy objectives, set out in the Multiannual Energy Program (MEP) presented by the Government last November, as part of the French Climate and Energy Strategy.

The EPP plans to reach 50% of nuclear power in electricity generation by 2035. The objective: to diversify our energy mix by promoting the development of renewable energies.

Transition of a territory

The Greater East, France's leading energy production region, aims to become a European reference in the decarbonisation of territories and industries by 2050. The partners of the Fessenheim Territory for the Future project have chosen to make the Haut-Rhin region the showcase for this ambition. This objective will be achieved through three joint actions:

  • support for research and training in skills for the future: one of the structuring actions envisaged is to develop an interdisciplinary innovation hub in the field of low-carbon energies that will bring together industry, public research and training, drawing on the territory's innovative structures and projects. This hub of excellence will accompany the transformation of the industrial fabric while generating new skills and know-how;
  • the emergence of the most innovative projects;
  • the development of industrial pilots.

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