France will not decide on new nuclear reactors before end of 2022

PARIS, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The French government, which has asked state-controlled utility EDF to look into the feasibility of building six new EPR reactors, said it would not decide whether to go ahead before the end of 2022.

French Energy Minister Elizabeth Borne told a parliamentary hearing on Wednesday that the decision on new reactors will come after the start-up of EDF’s Flamanville 3 EPR reactor, which is under construction in the north of France.

“The loading of nuclear fuel at Flamanville 3 is planned for the end of 2022. So the decision would be after,” Borne said.

Borne said France will proceed with shutting down 14 nuclear reactors as indicated in its long-term plan, if all conditions are met, and will continue to diversify its energy mix.

France aims to cut the share of nuclear power in its electricity mix to 50% by 2035 from around 75% now, while increasing the share of renewable solar, wind and biomass.

The two oldest reactors at Fessenheim will halt production in February and June this year. Two others will be halted in the middle of the decade, two others in 2027 and 2028, and the remaining reactors by 2035, Borne said. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Alexander Smith)