France reaches agreement with EDF over Fessenheim closure: Les Echos

The logo of France's state-owned electricity company EDF is seen on the company's headquarters in Paris, France, November 24, 2016. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Reuters) - The French government has reached an agreement with state-controlled utility EDF on the conditions under which the company will shut down France’s oldest nuclear plant, French business daily Les Echos said on Monday.

EDF and the French government agreed in August on a 400 million-euro ($430 million) compensation package for the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear plant.

The government decree to halt operations at Fessenheim would be subject to the company obtaining necessary official authorization for its new generation EPR reactor in Flamanville, Les Echos reported without citing a source.

EDF will also get the green light from the government to restart its 1,300-megawatt (MW) Paluel 2 nuclear reactor which has been offline since May 2015, and would require a new decree authorizing it to restart, the paper said.

The EDF board is expected to examine the deal during a meeting on Tuesday, Les Echos said.

A spokesman for EDF told Reuters the company had no comment on the news report.

According to France’s 2015 energy bill, any reactor that has been offline continuously for more than two years can be considered permanently out. The government can extend the outage period before a permanent shutdown to three years after approval by French nuclear safety authority ASN.

The 1,800-MW Fessenheim plant in northeastern France was commissioned in 1978 and is scheduled to stop production this year following a 2012 election campaign promise by President Francois Hollande.

Trade unions and some candidates in France’s April and May presidential election, including conservative frontrunner Francois Fillon, are against the closure. He has promised to halt the shutdown.

Reporting by Bate Felix; editing by Andrew Roche