France’s Ministry of Ecological and Solidarity Transition (CSFD) has announced it is preparing a tender for a 300 MW solar power project at the nuclear site of Fessenheim, located in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern France, which is planned to be decommissioned by 2020.
In its statement, the CSFD said that the terms of the tender have already been defined, and that it will be launched by the end of this year. Projects financed through crowdfunding will be encouraged, while further financial support may come from France’s public sector financial institution Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, the ministry added without providing further details.
According to local portal 20minutes, the CSFD will allocate 200 MW of ground-mounted solar power and 100 MW of rooftop PV capacity through the tender.
Energy storage and geothermal power facilities are also being considered to improve power supply in the region of Alsace, after the nuclear power plant will be closed, the French government stated.
The Fessenheim plant, which is France’s older nuclear power plant, is located in the Fessenheim commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern France along with the border with Germany, and is planned to be phased-out by 2020.
On several occasions, the German government had called on its French counterpart to close the 40-year old nuclear plant, which in its history has seen more than one temporary shut-down due to safety issues. One of these occurred in April 2014, and led to the shut-down of its Reactor 1. Although the plant operator, French power utility EDF, said that incident represented no real danger, German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported at the time that water was found leaking from several places. The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said at the time that the internal flooding in the non-nuclear part of reactor 1 in the plant had damaged the safety electrical systems. After being repaired, the reactor was reconnected to the grid on May 28, 2014.