France could shut down nuclear plants in energy plan due next week

PARIS (Reuters) – France could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028 among other options, French media reported, as part of its medium-term energy policy to be presented next week.

“I can confirm that there are three scenarios on the table that we are looking at, we are making final adjustments and all will be presented next week,” French Environment Minister Francois de Rugy told France Inter radio, without specifying a date.

The so-called PPE energy plan will lay out France’s energy goals over the next 10 years with the aim of reducing the share of nuclear power in its energy mix to 50 percent from 75 percent by 2035, curb carbon emissions and boost renewables.

French news agency AFP reported on Tuesday, citing government working documents, that the government could shut down up to six nuclear reactors by 2028, including the planned closure of France’s oldest Fessenheim nuclear plant which is scheduled to stop production in 2021, according to one scenario.

It said another six reactors could close by 2035, which could set France on the path to curb nuclear generation by 50 percent.

The second intermediate scenario does not foresee any additional closures beside Fessenheim until 2028, and then 12 reactors would be shutdown between 2028 and 2035, AFP quoted the document saying.

The final option would also see no additional closures until 2028 after which, only nine reactors would be halted by 2035, which could miss the 50 percent nuclear target.

Jefferies analysts, who have a “buy” rating on the shares of state-controlled utility EDF, said in a research note that two out of the three options seem to favor EDF, which operates all of France’s 58 nuclear reactors.

Even the accelerated nuclear phase-out option appears to offer some protection, via compensation, wrote Jefferies.

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