mdsolar writes: France is to close down its oldest nuclear power plant, at the center of a row with neighboring Germany and Switzerland, by the end of this year, a green minister said Sunday. "The timeline is one the president has repeated to me several times, it's 2016," said Emmanuelle Cosse, who was named to President Francois Hollande's cabinet last month, referring to the Fessenheim plant. Cosse was speaking to French media after a row sparked Friday when Germany demanded that France close down Fessenheim following reports that a 2014 incident there was worse than earlier portrayed. France's Nuclear Safety Agency said that safety at the plant was "overall satisfactory" but that the government's energy policy "could lead to different choices" regarding the facility, which is near the German and Swiss borders. It said there was "no need" to shut the plant from a nuclear safety point of view. France has promised to cut reliance on nuclear energy from more than 75 percent to 50 percent by shutting 24 reactors by 2025, while stepping up reliance on renewable energy.