March 1, 2015 / 9:19 PM / 5 years ago

French Fessenheim nuclear plant fully halted after outages

PARIS, March 1 (Reuters) - France’s Fessenheim nuclear plant has been totally halted since Saturday evening due to a technical problem at one of its 900 MW reactors and planned maintenance at the other, EDF said on Sunday.

No date had been set for the restart of the plant, which is the oldest in France and located on the German border, an EDF spokeswoman said.

In statements posted on its website, EDF said Fessenheim’s reactor 1 had been halted due to a leak found on a pipe downstream of the condenser in the engine room, which is outside the nuclear zone.

The incident did not have an impact on the security of the installations, employees or the environment, it said.

“Our teams are making a diagnosis. Activity could resume in the coming days,” the spokeswoman told Reuters.

The second reactor was halted for a planned outage in the night between Thursday and Friday to renew a third of the fuel in the heart of the reactor and to perform inspection and maintenance work in the nuclear and non-nuclear parts of the facility, EDF said.

French President Francois Hollande promised to shut down Fessenheim as part of a pledge to bring down atomic energy to 50 percent of French power output by 2025 from the current 75 percent, the highest share in the world.

However, Energy Minister Segolene Royal suggested in September that keeping Fessenheim open, where 500 million euros ($630 million) have been spent on maintenance in recent years, was a possibility. (Reporting by Marine Pennetier and Sybille de La Hamaide; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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