France to close its oldest nuclear reactor

Sept. 14, 2012 at 4:21 PM

PARIS, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- French President Francois Hollande has promised to close the nation's oldest nuclear reactor in 2016, a year earlier than previously announced.

"The Fessenheim plant, which is the oldest in our country, will be closed at the end of 2016 in conditions that will guarantee the supply needs of the region ... and safeguard all jobs," Hollande said at an energy conference in Paris.

Hollande, leader of the world's most nuclear-dependent country with 58 reactors, had previously pledged to close the reactor by 2017, Radio France Internationale reported Friday.

France has long been a leading international proponent of nuclear power but Holland, in a deal with the Greens before this year's parliamentary and presidential elections, pledged to reduce the country's reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 percent of energy needs to 50 percent by 2025.

The Fessenheim plant, situated on the banks of the Rhine River, is considered vulnerable to seismic activity and flooding.

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