France is planning to shut down up to 17 nuclear reactors in the next eight years to reduce the contribution of of nuclear power in its energy mix.

An announcement in this regard was made by French Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot in an interview with RTL radio station.

Hulot referred to the decision of French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to persist with the previous government’s goal of reducing the contribution of nuclear power from 75% to 50% made to the country’s electricity generation.

To reach the figure of 50%, Hulot mentioned that it was obvious to close a number of nuclear reactors which could come up to 17 or so. The Minister further told the radio: “Every reactor comes with its own unique economic, social and even security context.”

France 24 has reported that the country’s nuclear plants are ageing with the average plant already over 30 years old leaving just about 10 years or so in their lifespan. Out of the 58 nuclear reactors that France has, 15 of them have crossed the 35-year mark.

The Fessenheim nuclear power reactor built near the Franco-German border in the historical region of Alsace in 1977 is the oldest of the lot approaching towards the end of its lifespan.

In April, the French government had issued a decree to cease power generation at the 1.8GW Fessenheim reactor by April 2020.

Owned by the state-controlled electric utility, Électricité de France (EDF), Fessenheim will operate until the commissioning of the 1.65GW Flamanville 3 EPR reactor, a third generation pressurized water reactor, as reported by Reuters.

Image: The Fessenheim nuclear power plant in France. Photo: courtesy of Florival fr/Wikipedia.