France’s oldest nuclear plant shuts down

On 22 February 2020, one of the two reactors of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant in France was definitively stopped, and the second reactor is planned to be stopped on 30 June. Fessenheim was commissioned in 1977 and is currently the oldest nuclear power plant operating in France. The fate of Fessenheim has been widely discussed during the past decade and the decision to close the ageing reactors was announced already in 2012 by the then newly elected president Francois Hollande. However, the decision did not come into force before now, highlighting the sensibility of closing nuclear power plants in France, which is the world’s second largest nuclear power producer after the US. The approaching post-nuclear situation in the Fessenheim community is feared by many who are dependent on the dominant local employer, while others have since long awaited a closure of the plant.