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Juillet 2017 / Platts

French energy minister says up to 17 nuclear reactors may be closed by 2025

London (Platts)—10 Jul 2017 816 am EDT/1216 GMT

France may consider closing up to 17 nuclear reactors by 2025 to achieve its target of a reduction of the share of nuclear in the power mix to 50%, new energy minister Nicolas Hulot said Monday in a radio interview for RTL.

  • New energy minister Hulot comments in radio interview on RTL
  • Last week's climate plan presentation lacked detail on nuclear
  • New government plans to stick to 50% nuclear target by 2025

"From the moment it was confirmed that the share of nuclear will be 50%, everyone can understand that to achieve this objective, we will close a certain number of reactors," Hulot said. "It may be up to 17 reactors we have to look at."

Hulot presented France's climate plan on Thursday, a broad road map intended to make the nation climate neutral by 2050 as well as confirming the intention of the new Macron administration of sticking to the Hollande administration's target of a reduction of nuclear to 50% by 2025.

The minister, however, only mentioned nuclear during the climate plan presentation when prompted by a reporter.

Which and how many reactors would depend on various factors including safety, social as well as economic aspects, Hulot said Thursday without giving further details but comparing the situation to Germany's nuclear phase-out, which he described as irreversible.

The minister last week also confirmed Macron's pledge to shut the remaining five coal-fired power plants with a capacity of 3 GW in France by 2022.

The focus of future French energy policy will be an acceleration of renewables with the minister saying many wind and solar projects are currently hindered by a complex administrative and planning process, promising to ease such procedures and confirming the long-term goal of doubling renewables to 32% by 2030.

power-specific policy details are not expected before the end of next year when the government plans to present a new multi-annual plan (PPA) and when nuclear regulator ASN may have presented some findings in response to EDF's plan to extend the run-time of its nuclear reactors beyond 40 years.

EDF operates the countries 58 nuclear reactors and decided in its last board meeting before the presidential elections in April to close the two reactors at Fessenheim once the new Flamanville 3 reactor will be ready to come online, which is currently scheduled from late 2018.

Almost the entire fleet of EDF's 900 MW class reactors will reach their 40-year-lifespan before 2025 with EDF's 'Grand Carenage' program planning to invest some Eur50 billion into upgrading its reactors to extend their lifespan beyond 40 years.

During his election campaign, President Macron said he would base any decision regarding reactor closures upon the regulator's views on the 'Grand Carenage' program expected around late-2018.

The 17 reactors of the 900 MW class would have a capacity of around 15 GW, which in turn would reduce French nuclear capacity to 48 GW.

—Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com
—Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com



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