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France could close 30% its nuclear reactors, says minister

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Staff Writer | July 11, 2017
France's new environment minister said nearly a third of the country's reactors could be shut under plans to scale back the amount of electricity produced from nuclear power.
Nicolas Hulot
Nuclear energy   Hulot presented a Climate Plan last Thursday
In 2015, the previous Socialist-dominated parliament passed a law obliging the government to reduce the proportion of electricity generated from nuclear to 50 percent by 2025 compared with around 75 percent now.

"We can all understand that to reach this target, we're going to have to close a certain number of reactors," Nicolas Hulot told RTL radio.

"It will be perhaps as high as 17 reactors, but we need to look into it."

Hulot, a celebrity environmentalist, was named minister for ecological transition in the first government of 39-year-old centrist President Emmanuel Macron, elected in May.

He presented a Climate Plan last Thursday which included a number of ambitious targets for reducing emissions, such as stopping the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, but it was criticised by some for lacking detail.

France has 58 nuclear reactors operated by state-owned EDF, which produces some of the lowest-cost electricity in Europe.

The country earns about EUR3 billion ($3.4 billion) each year from exports to neighbouring countries.