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Restart Of Two French Nuclear Power Stations Pushed Back Until Summer

Just as nuclear power supply managed to avoid a strain on the French grid in the Arctic weather last week, energy giant EDF dampened hopes of more reactors joining the operating fleet soon as it delayed the restart of some reactors from early next year to June 2023.  

EDF announced on Monday in notices on the downtime for France’s power generation that the Penley-2 restart is now expected for June 11, 2023, compared to an initial timeline of having the reactor operational by the end of January 2023. The maintenance at the Golfech-1 reactor has also been pushed back to June next year, from the middle of February.

Low nuclear power availability has been an issue for the French power system throughout this year as half of the country’s reactors were offline at one point in the autumn due to repairs or maintenance.

In recent weeks, the situation had improved, and higher nuclear power generation helped France avoid a strain on its electricity grid early last week as demand surged amid freezing temperatures, transmission grid operator RTE said. Nuclear power met 41 GW of demand on December 12 after EDF increased power generation at three reactors at the end of last week after repairs.

But the delay in the restart of the two reactors, communicated today, doesn’t bode well for the energy supply in France and Europe early next year, when power demand is set to surge in the coldest winter months in the first quarter of 2023.

Last month, RTE said that the French electricity grid is at higher risk of strained power supplies in January 2023 than previously estimated due to lower nuclear power generation. 

Delays in routine maintenance work at France’s nuclear power stations will lead to a slightly lower nuclear availability this winter than expected back in September, the grid operator said. This raises the risk of a power supply crunch in January, RTE said in its latest winter preparedness analysis in November.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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