The board of state-run EDF voted Tuesday to start the process of closing the two reactors at the 39-year-old Fessenheim nuclear power plant, near the German border. Unions oppose the move.
According to an EDF statement, the board approved a plan to compensate the company for money lost from the shutdown, which will be conditional on the launch of a new-generation plant in western France next year.
French President Francois Hollande had pushed to close the plant as part of government efforts to reduce France's unusually high reliance on nuclear power. The German government called last year for France to shut Fessenheim.