Sarkozy vows to keep Fessenheim nuclear plant running
French President Nicolas Sarkozy told cheering workers at France's oldest nuclear power plant at Fessenheim that he will keep it running and slammed his Socialist opponent François Hollande for promising to close it down.
Without mentioning Hollande by name, Sarkozy said the closure of the plant would come "at the cost of jobs in the nuclear industry, the cost of our industrial competitiveness and the cost of our energy independence.
"We will not close this station, it's out of the question," Sarkozy said during his visit to the plant, in Alsace in northeastern France on Thursday
Ahead of a two-round presidential election in April and May, Socialist frontrunner Hollande has promised to reduce France's reliance on nuclear energy from 75 per cent to 50 per cent by shutting down 24 reactors by 2025.
The Socialist plan includes closing the two reactors at the Fessenheim plant, which dates from 1977.
"I will never accept the closing of the Fessenheim station for political reasons," Sarkozy said. "Wanting to close Fessenheim is a scandal, because it would mean sacrificing your jobs for backward political thinking."
France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country, operates 58 reactors and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.
But the country's reliance on nuclear power has been called into question since the Fukushima disaster in Japan, which prompted Germany to announce plans to shut all of its reactors by the end of 2022.