PARIS (AP) — France started closing its oldest nuclear plant, at Fessenheim, on the border with Germany, by shutting down one of its reactors Saturday.
French operator EDF said the 43-year-old reactor was unplugged Saturday around 2 a.m., in a “very emotional moment.” The process went well, EDF said.
The second reactor is set to be shut down at the end of June.
Local media reported that about 100 people gathered on Friday evening in the little town of Fessenheim to protest against the closure of the plant, which provides about 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in the region.
Germany has long called for the plant, which started producing power in 1977, to be shut down.
The move is part of French President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to re-balance nuclear-produced energy and electricity derived from renewable sources.
France depends more on nuclear energy than any other country, getting about 70% of its electricity from the plants.
Macron vowed to reduce the nuclear share to 50% by 2035, by shutting down a total of 14 nuclear reactors out of the 58 running at 19 plants, including the two reactors of Fessenheim.
Lead image author: By Florival fr – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0