After years of debate that have made its closure a sea serpent of French political life, the reactor No. 1 of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant must be definitively shut down on Saturday, the first step on the long road to dismantling.
Dean of French power plants
Commissioned in 1977, the dean of the French power plants in operation will have known six presidents of the Republic, from Valéry Giscard d'Estaing to Emmanuel Macron, via François Hollande, who sealed his fate by promising to close it in 2011, but also hunger strikes and countless demonstrations by opponents. Nearly a decade after François Hollande's promise, reactor 1 of the Alsatian power plant must be shut down at 2:30 a.m. Saturday, before the second on June 30.
"A first step in France's energy strategy"
These dates were ratified on Wednesday, with the publication in the Official Journal of a decree which "repeals the authorization to operate the Fessenheim nuclear power plant owned by EDF". A "first step in France's energy strategy", welcomed Matignon.
A 900 megawatt reactor
The soft shutdown of the 900 megawatt pressurized water reactor will begin at 8:30 p.m. Friday, according to a procedure identical to that used during the maintenance phases. The pressure and temperature, which reach 306.5 ° C and 155 bar at full power, will gradually decrease in the primary circuit of the reactor and, "when the reactor reaches 8% of its power, it will be decoupled, that is to say - say disconnected from the national electricity network ", explains EDF.
At stake in the negotiations between the Greens and the PS for the 2012 presidential election, the closure of Fessenheim had been announced after the election of the socialist president for the end of 2016. Then it had been linked to the commissioning of the EPR at Flamanville and pushed back to 2018, but it was Emmanuel Macron that he finally returned to announce his final cessation in 2020.