Conflicting emotions as France closes the oldest nuclear power plant

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“This is the death sentence,” said Philippe Page Le Merour, representative of the CGT.

Germany has long asked for the plant to be closed. It has been supplying electricity to the French grid since 1977.

Celebrated as a victory for anti-nuclear activists, the closure of Fessenheim still leaves France with 56 pressurized water reactors in 18 factories. Nuclear power supplies France with almost three quarters of its electricity, more than any other country.

As part of an energy strategy defined in 2018 by President Emmanuel Macron, this balance is now changing, with greater importance given to renewable energies. The government has outlined plans for 12 additional reactor shutdowns and that only half of French electricity will still come from nuclear power by 2035.

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