Strasbourg (hooly News) – Clap of historic end after 43 years of service: in the night of Monday to Tuesday, the Alsatian nuclear power station of Fessenheim will definitively stop working before being dismantled. A victory for the anti-nuclear forces but a heartbreak for the employees and the inhabitants.
The operation, similar to that which led to the shutdown of the first reactor on February 22, is due to start Monday at 11:30 p.m., with a gradual decrease in the power of the second reactor, according to an EDF spokesperson.
When its nominal power reaches “8%” on Tuesday at 2:00 am, the plant will then be definitively disconnected from the electricity grid, he added.
Located on the banks of the Rhine, near Germany and Switzerland, the oldest power station in France will cease producing electricity forever.
– “First” –
Its dismantling can then begin. It promises to be long: 15 years are planned to dismantle the two reactors, starting with the disposal of highly radioactive fuel which, according to the schedule, will be completed in 2023.
The actual dismantling, unprecedented in France on this scale, should begin by 2025 and continue at least until 2040.
“It is the first time that a pressurized water nuclear power plant (the technology that equips the 56 remaining reactors in the French fleet, note) has been shut down and then completely dismantled,” said an EDF spokesperson.
Previously, other plants had suffered the same fate, like that of Brennilis, in Finistère, but they used different technologies, he specifies.
Victory for the French, German and Swiss anti-nuclear forces, some of whom have campaigned for decades against Fessenheim, this closure arouses the anger of the employees of the power station and of most of the 2,500 inhabitants of the eponymous village.
“We inevitably advance towards the end (…) this situation looks like an economic, social and ecological genocide. Courage to the employees of #Fessenheim”, tweeted the CGT of the power plant on Friday.
Only sixty EDF employees will remain to conduct its dismantling around 2024. At the end of 2017, there were still 750 as well as 300 service providers.
As for the inhabitants of this formerly modest village, they have lived for decades thanks to the significant economic and fiscal fallout from this installation and fear a big economic downturn: no project is officially stopped for the post-Fessenheim period.
– “Dried up” –
The installation of a technocentre, intended to become a pilot site for the decontamination of weakly radioactive metals, or even a biofuel plant are well in the planning stage, with several hundred jobs at stake, but they would not materialize for a few years.
Closing the plant, while it “is in good working order and has passed all the safety tests”, is “absurd and incomprehensible”, gets angry mayor Claude Brender.
“Clearly, after the closure, we find ourselves completely dry and very far from any territorial project”, also pointed out the president of the Grand Est region, Jean Rottner, regretting the “political decision” of the State taken without having provided with “replacement tools”.
Promise of campaign of François Hollande in 2012, this closure had been postponed repeatedly, before being implemented in April 2017.
As a wink of fate: Friday morning, reactor n ° 2 underwent an automatic shutdown after a lightning strike on high voltage lines. It restarted without problem on Saturday. But must be turned off again three days later. This time forever.