The company building Britain’s new £18 billion nuclear reactors is facing fresh uncertainty after refusing a French government request for the immediate closure of an ageing atomic plant in eastern France. The board of Eléctricité de France (EDF) voted to delay the closure of the 40-year-old Fessenheim plant in a snub to the government. The stand-off highlights EDF’s increasingly fraught relationship with the state, which holds an 85.6 per cent stake in the company. Michel Sapin, the economy minister, described EDF, which has been picked to lead the project to build two European pressurised reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset, as a firm “in danger”. The group has debts of €37 billion, and needs to find at least €50 billion to renovate its 58 reactors in France, which supply about 75 per cent of the country’s electricity.
Times 7th April 2017 read more »
EDF’s board approved a motion on Thursday that leaves the French utility more leeway on whether to close its oldest nuclear plant, the Fessenheim site on the Franco-German border, a CGT union official told Reuters on Thursday. Earlier on Thursday, EDF’s board had decided not to vote through a first motion that would have closed the ageing plant for good. A source at EDF said the second motion had approved the principle of closing Fessenheim but only under two conditions: the start of production of a new nuclear plant in Flamanville, Normandy and if nuclear production remains below a ceiling set by law. Energy Minister Segolene Royal said that meant Fessenheim’s closure was “irreversible”. But the CGT union official, Laurent Langlard, disagreed. “In concrete terms, Fessenheim continues to operate in 2017, it continues to operate in 2018, and we’ll see when Flamanville starts producing which unit is disconnected from the grid. But it won’t necessarily be Fessenheim,” he told Reuters.
Reuters 6th April 2017 read more »
French Energy Minister Segolene Royal warned EDF’s board on Wednesday against trying to prevent the closure of France’s oldest nuclear plant, as a long-running conflict between the state-controlled utility and the government comes to a head. EDF has scheduled a board meeting on Thursday to decide the fate of the 1,800 megawatt Fessenheim plant near the German border. Its closure was an election promise of outgoing President Francois Hollande in 2012, but the company has so far managed to put off a final decision. Unions oppose the closure, saying it would cause job losses and France’s hardline CGT trade union urged its members to picket EDF’s headquarters during Thursday’s meeting to keep pressure on the board members.
Reuters 5th April 2017 read more »
The board of directors of EDF rejected today a motion to initiate the process of closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant (Haut-Rhin). In fact, the government will not be able to issue a closure decree by the end of the legislature.
Michele Rivasi 6th Apr 2017 read more »
Rejection of the closure of Fessenheim: it was run in advance since François Hollande signed before the two decrees hoped by EDF. The Nuclear Observatory “congratulates” François Hollande for what is probably the last major disruption of its five-year plan, namely the rejection by EDF of the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant. It happened that the President had all the cards in his hands to force the closure of this power station because EDF absolutely needed two decrees concerning respectively the power plant of Paluel (Seine-Maritime) and the site of the EPR of Flamanville (Manche) . It was therefore enough for Mr. Hollande to tell EDF “You vote for the closure of Fessenheim and I give you your two decrees”. However, Mr Hollande initially defeated his means of pressure by giving EDF the two decrees he had expected before saying in substance: ‘Now, please close Fessenheim.’ EDF would have been wrong to be embarrassed. It should be noted, however, that Hollande is known for not keeping his promises but not at all to be an idiot, so the stupidity of his behavior in this affair can only be a deliberate felony. M Hollande lied for five years, he really had no intention of closing Fessenheim. However, the Nuclear Observatory recalls that this kind of deceit will not change the dark future of the French nuclear industry: Areva has gone bankrupt, EDF follows closely, the EPR (Finland and Flamanville) workshops are disastrous, the scandal Defective parts and falsification is only at its beginning, EDF reactors (and not only those of Fessenheim) are in an advanced state of disrepair.
Observatoire du Nucleaire 6th April 2017 read more »