French officials have announced plans to close Fessenheim power plant by the end of the year. The decision comes after an ongoing dispute with Switzerland and Germany over the plant's safety.
Green minister Emmanuelle Cosse said Monday that France would shut down the nuclear power plant, just days after reports surfaced suggesting a nuclear accident that occurred at the facility last year was more serious than authorities had claimed.
"The timeline is one the president [Francois Hollande] has repeated to me several times, it's 2016," Cosse said.
In September, Hollande said he would not shut down Fessenheim despite having promised to do so in 2012. Cosse emphasized that the president's decision had nothing to do with safety issues, but rather was based on the government's energy policy.
Reports of a cover-up
Last week, German news outlets "Süddeutsche Zeitung" and WDR claimed the French nuclear authority and the company operating the plant's nuclear reactors hadn't divulged the seriousness of a leak that had been reported on April 9, 2014. Their claims were based on a document they obtained that had originally been sent by the nuclear authority to the head of the company.
The plant, located along the border near Germany and Switzerland, has long been a source of concern for the two neighboring countries. The German media reports prompted yet more calls by German politicians to shut down the facility.
Fessenheim went into operation in 1977. France still depends primarily on nuclear power, but the government has been leading efforts to promote alternative sources of power.
blc/jil (AFP, dpa)