France’s oldest nuclear reactor to finally shut down

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France’s oldest nuclear power plant will shut down on Tuesday after four decades in operation, to the delight of environmental activists who have long warned of contamination risks, but stoking worry for the local economy. The Fessenheim plant, opened in 1977 and already three years over its projected 40-year life span, became a target for anti-nuclear campaigners after the catastrophic meltdown at Fukushima in Japan in 2011. Despite a pledge by then-president Francois Hollande just months after the Fukushima disaster to close Fessenheim – on the Rhine river near France’s eastern border with Germany and Switzerland – it was not until 2018 that his successor Emmanuel Macron gave the final green light. Run by state-owned energy company EDF, one of Fessenheim’s two reactors was disconnected in February. The second is to be taken off line early on Tuesday, but it will be several months before the reactors have cooled enough for the used fuel to be removed. The world stopped another Chernobyl by working together. Coronavirus demands the same Serhii Plokhy Read more That process should be completed by 2023, and the plant is not expected to be fully dismantled before 2040 at the earliest. “We hope, above all, […]

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