The board of French electricity utility EDF on 24 January approved a compensation package worth around €490m ($530m) for the shutdown of the Fessenheim nuclear plant.

Closing Fesseneheim, France’s oldest nuclear power plant, was a campaign promise of Socialist President Francois Hollande, who is approaching the end of his term in office.

The compensation package forms two parts. The first portion, estimated at around €490m, is expected to cover the costs associated with the closure of the units, including the costs of staff retraining, decommissioning, taxes and post operational costs. The first 20% of this compensation will be paid in 2019, with the remainder in 2021. The second portion invovlves further payments to make up EDF’s shortfall in operating income up to 2041. The amount will be determined based on market prices and EDF’s 900MW generation volumes, without Fessenheim.

EDF said that the closure of Fessenheim requires a decree revoking its operating licence. This will be issued at the request of EDF, and take effect at the same time as the commissioning of the Flamanville 3 EPR, which EDF said is currently scheduled for late 2018.

EDF, which is 85.6% owned by the state, agreed the plan with the government last August. Closure of the twin-reactor plant is part of a plan to reduce the nuclear generation of electricity from over 75% to 50% of the total. The 39-year-old Fessenheim plant has long been the focus of protests by French, German and Swiss environmentalists. Its two 880MWe (net reactors began operation in 1977 and 1978.