Photographer: Balint Porneczi/Bloomberg

EDF May Have to Shut Up to 17 Reactors, Ecology Minister Says

  • Government plans to cut share of atomic power to 50% by 2025
  • Nuclear accounted for 72% of French electricity output in 2016

Electricite de France SA, the state-controlled operator of 58 nuclear reactors in France, may have to shut as many as 17 to fulfill government plans to reduce the share of atomic power in the country’s electricity output to 50 percent by 2025, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot said.

The exact number of shutdowns required isn’t clear because “we haven’t developed everything in our climate plan,” Hulot said Monday on RTL radio. Given the 50 percent target, “everyone can understand that we’ll close a number of reactors to achieve that goal, and not just one.”

Shutting 17 reactors by 2025 would be a huge challenge for France and EDF, as nuclear power accounted for 72 percent of the country’s electricity output last year. While the government has pledged to boost renewables, it’s not yet evident how they would make up for the shutdown of almost a third of EDF’s reactors. The state would also face calls from the company to compensate it for potential loss of revenue and the cost of dismantling earlier than planned.

In January, EDF reached a compromise with the government in which the utility would receive 490 million euros ($559 million) and possible subsequent payments if the two reactors of the Fessenheim nuclear plant are taken offline.

— With assistance by Marie Mawad

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