Further delays to getting France's nuclear plants back online, admits EDF

AFP - [email protected]
Further delays to getting France's nuclear plants back online, admits EDF
An operator works in the control room at the third-generation European Pressurised Reactor project (EPR) nuclear reactor of Flamanville, Normandy Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

French state electricity giant EDF has further trimmed its estimated electricity output for this year, citing further delays in getting nuclear reactors back online during maintenance and safety checks.


Production is now seen at 275 to 285 terawatt hours (Twh), down from 280 to 300 Twh -- already a cut from initial estimates for 2022, the company said late Thursday.

It was the latest setback for EDF's race to restore operations at dozens of reactors that have been shut down for months because of safety risks from defective welds or scheduled maintenance.

France gets around 70 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, and the coming winter spike in demand means it will have to buy electricity from the European power market, where prices have soared as Russia's invasion of Ukraine drags on.

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EDF had already warned in September of a €29 billion financial hit this year from the reactor works, but the company did not reveal the potential new hit in its latest update.


But it said four reactors originally set to be back online in November or December would now be operational only in late January or February.

Almost half of the country's 56 reactors, spread across 18 power plants, were taken offline, many because of fears over micro-cracks discovered in emergency cooling systems.

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EDF's financial woes prompted the government to renationalise the company earlier this year, and a new CEO, Luc Remont, is expected to be confirmed in his job later this month.

The company is central to President Emmanuel Macron's plans to build at least six next-generation reactors, part of his push for energy "sovereignty."


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