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EDF extends strike warning by another day, delays reactor returns further; forward prices rise

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EDF extends strike warning by another day, delays reactor returns further; forward prices rise


Strike warning extended to late March 29

Maintenance delays amid strike reach 97 days

Q1 2024 up 75% since March 6 at Eur388/MWh

  • Author
  • Andreas Franke
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power

French nuclear operator EDF has delayed more reactor returns and extended its strike warning by another 24 hours to late March 29, it said.

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Daily delays to planned reactor returns across now 10 units announced since March 17 alone amount to a combined 97 days in lost availability with an estimated 2.7 TWh loss in output, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights calculations tracking EDF Transparency notes.

Actual output was little changed on the day at around 34 GW, with nuclear averaging just below 34 GW since the current wave of strikes started March 3.

Analysts at S&P Global had forecast March output to average 38.7 GW in early March, already down sharply from a December forecast as France's nuclear comeback was halted in March amid the strikes.

S&P Global analysts on March 23 lowered their nuclear generation forecast for the remainder of 2023 by an average 1.5 GW, which would pull the 2023 total to 306 TWh, including strike-related losses, in March.

EDF on March 16 confirmed its 300-330 TWh estimate for 2023 after submitting a revised repair and control plan to ASN.

That day marked a ramp-up in strike activity after President Emmanuel Macron decided to push through planned pension reforms without parliamentary approval.

Rebound focused on next winter

Spot power prices remain relatively bearish, with day-ahead settling March 29 at Eur82.68/MWh, while week-ahead contracts remain elevated around Eur116/MWh due to a colder weather forecast for early April, exchange data showed.

Further out, Q1 2024 baseload continued its rebound trading March 29 at Eur388/MWh, up another 6% on the day and some 75% above its March 6 settlement, EEX data showed.

Strikes also delayed the start of maintenance at three 1.3 GW reactors by a week, pushing planned return dates further into September 2023, while EDF scheduled a 14-day maintenance outage for the 1.3-GW Paluel-2.

Strikes and additional checks on EDF's fleet of 1.3-GW reactors are the main market concerns this month after French forward power prices fell to 18-month lows in early March.

Cal 2024 power traded March 29 at Eur209/MWh, up 41% since March 6 and compared to the Eur42/MWh regulated ARENH price requiring EDF to sell 100 TWh/year of nuclear to domestic suppliers.

French Reactor Maintenance Delays Amid Strike

Unit MW Outage Start Scheduled Return Notes
Bugey 3 900 24/03/2023 29/03/2023 Unplanned
Paluel 4 1300 22/02/2023 31/03/2023 Unplanned
Chooz 2 1500 09/02/2023 01/04/2023 Unplanned, SIS repairs completed
Civaux 2 1500 19/11/2021 31/03/2023 SIS repairs completed
Cattenom 3 1300 26/03/2022 06/04/2023 SIS repairs ongoing
Chooz 1 1500 18/12/2021 14/04/2023 SIS repairs ongoing
Blayais 1 900 31/07/2022 17/04/2023 10-year-overhaul
Chinon 4 900 25/02/2023 20/04/2023 Refueling
Gravelines 1 900 11/02/2023 15/05/2023 Refueling, extra maintenance
Saint Alban 1 1300 24/02/2023 17/06/2023 Refueling, extra maintenance
Golfech 2 1300 27/03/2022 04/09/2023 Refueling, SIS checks
Nogent 2 1300 01/04/2023 09/09/2023 Refueling, SIS checks
Belleville 2 1300 08/04/2023 16/09/2023 Refueling, SIS checks
Paluel 2 1300 08/04/2023 19/04/2023 Provisional maintenance

Source: EDF transparency notes to March 29