By SYLVIE CORBET
PARIS — France’s nuclear safety authority agreed Thursday to extend the operational lifetime of the country’s 32 oldest nuclear reactors by a decade to as much as 50 years.
The public electricity company that operates the nuclear plants, EDF, is in charge of ensuring the safety of the reactors, which had previously been intended to run for 40 years.
The nuclear authority said in a statement that it finds that measures planned by EDF “open the prospect of continued operation of these reactors for a further ten years.”
Nuclear energy currently provides about 70% of French electricity, more than in any other country. France aims to reduce that proportion to 50% by 2035 while boosting renewable energy.
Most nuclear reactors were built in the 1980s, meaning they could be shut down in the 2030s.
Germany’s environment minister criticized the nuclear safety authority’s decision.