A French nuclear reactor shut down automatically on Thursday after two small fires at the installation in the north of the country that firefighters quickly extinguished, officials said.

EDF, the operator of the power plant in Penly on the English Channel near the port of Dieppe, said the installation was secure, no-one was injured, and there were “no consequences for the environment”.

The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) said the firefighters had found small pools of oil on fire but had quickly extinguished the flames.

Nuclear proponent

France generates 75 per cent of its electricity from nuclear power and the future of the industry has become an issue in campaigns for the presidential election to be held in April and May.

France, the world's most nuclear-dependent country, operates 58 reactors and has been a leading international proponent of atomic energy.

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