France's president says he will formally launch this year the long process to shut down the country's oldest nuclear plant.

Giving a speech on the environment at the Elysee palace, Francois Hollande said he will publish a decree to start closing the nuclear plant of Fessenheim, located in east of France near the German border.

"Discussions are ongoing between the state and (operator) EDF on the conditions of this move," Hollande said.

The German government earlier this month called on France to shut down the Fessenheim plant as soon as possible.

France passed a law last year to reduce the proportion of its power that comes from nuclear to 50 percent by 2025, from the current 75 percent, which is greater than in any other nation.