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France’s state-held utility giant EDF will restart all its nuclear reactors in the country this winter, potentially alleviating the energy crisis in Europe during peak heating season.
Currently, more than half of EDF’s reactors are out of operation either because of maintenance or technical issues.
“EDF has committed to restart all its reactors for this winter,” French Energy Transition Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher said at a news conference on energy security on Friday.
EDF operates a total of 56 reactors in France, but 32 of them are currently either undergoing maintenance or experiencing technical issues, the minister added.
Every week starting in October, EDF will restart one reactor, Pannier-Runacher added.
France has been experiencing outages at its nuclear reactors in recent months, which have slashed power generation from nuclear power plants. France’s nuclear power generation accounts for around 70% of its electricity mix, and when its reactors are fully operational it is a net exporter of electricity to other European countries.
Prolonged maintenance at several nuclear reactors this year, however, has meant less nuclear-generated power supply for both France and its export markets.
Moreover, drought and hot weather this summer have added to France’s nuclear power generation problems at the worst possible moment. As Europe grapples with low Russian gas supply and the threat of no Russian supply at all, non-Russian energy sources are more important than ever.
Last week, year-ahead power prices in France surged as much as 13% on Friday alone, to $1,001 (1,000 euro) per megawatt-hour for the first time ever. French power prices have now soared tenfold over the past year.
Energy prices in Europe were smashing records all last week after Russia’s Gazprom said on August 19 that it would halt all deliveries via Nord Stream to Germany for three days between August 31 and September 2. This announcement raised renewed concerns that supply via the pipeline could be further cut or halted altogether after the three-day unplanned maintenance. Gas supply via Nord Stream is set to resume at 1 a.m. GMT on September 3.
By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com
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Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com and Oilprice.com,