French utility Electricite de France (EDF) said Sunday it had submitted an application to regulators and to the energy minister seeking approval to close both of the 880 MWe pressurized water reactors at the Fessenheim nuclear power plant.
“The shutdown of reactor no. 1 is planned for the 22 of February 2020, whilst the shutdown of reactor no. 2 is planned for 30th of June of the same year,” EDF said.
The application “follows on from the signing on the 27th of September 2019, by the State and by EDF, of a protocol agreement whereby the State will compensate EDF for the early closure of Fessenheim NP, resulting from the limitation of nuclear power output set by law passed on the 17th of August 2015, pertaining to the energy transition in support of green growth,” EDF said.
France has lowered targets for nuclear power to allow for growth of solar and wind power in reaction to political pressure in the era of global warming and fears of nuclear catastrophe in the wake of the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant triple meltdown in 2011.
The Fessenheim facility is hope to the two oldest reactors in France. Due to the plant’s age and its proximity to Switzerland and Germany, international pressure to close the plant had also set the stage for the decision to close it down.
According to the government agreement, compensation for closing the plant includes initial installments to cover “post operational expenditure, BNI taxes, dismantling and staff redeployment costs … which will be paid over a 4-year period following closure of the plant,” EDF said.
Subsequent payments in compensation for any loss of earnings, i.e., income from future power generation, based on Fessenheim’s previous output figures, up until 2041,” will be paid over a 4-year period following closure of the plant. These payments are expected to amount to a total of nearly 400 million Euros.
Subsequent payments in compensation for any loss of earnings, i.e. income from future power generation, based on Fessenheim’s previous output figures, up until 2041, are also expected, “calculated ‘ex post’ on the basis of nuclear output selling prices, including observed market prices,” the utility said.
The monetary compensation has given EDF the rationale for redeployment of the station’s personnel, “within the scope of the agreement signed on the 17th of May 2018 between the company and the trade-union organizations.”
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