Fessenheim safety upgrades may not prevent closure

EDF (Euronext: EDF) is set to carry out works prescribed by the French nuclear safety regulator in July as it seeks to enable the Fessenheim nuclear power plant to operate beyond its third ten-yearly extension.

The Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) presides over exhaustive safety reviews that must be performed every ten years at the plants to ensure they can continue to operate.
France’s oldest nuclear power plant had its review in April of 2011 and March of last year but World Nuclear News reports that regulatory approval may not be sufficient to ensure the continued operation of the Fessenheim units, which started up in 1977 and 1978.

French president Francois Hollande announced in 2012 that the plant would close by the end of 2016, in fulfilment of promises made during his election campaign, although the closure is not yet enshrined in law. A national period of debate over a potential 'energy transition' is ongoing, with a new energy bill due to be published next month.

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