London — French nuclear operator EDF has cut sharply its 2020 nuclear output target due to coronavirus-related disruption to maintenance schedules as well as weak demand, it said Thursday.
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EDF estimates that its annual nuclear output will be in the region of 300 TWh in 2020 and range from 330 to 360 TWh in 2021 and 2022, it said.
In March, it scrapped its already reduced 375-390 TWh target for 2020 as maintenance schedules had to be adjusted because of the pandemic.
"A number of nuclear reactors may have to be taken offline this coming summer and autumn in order to save fuel at these power plants," it said in a statement.
This was to provide a continuous supply of power throughout the winter of 2020-21 as the coronavirus crisis put restrictions on nuclear maintenance usually performed during the summer, it said.
The economic slowdown had also resulted in a drop in electricity consumption, which could potentially fall by 20%, it added.
On February 14 the operator reduced its 2020 target by 20-30 TWh to 375-390 TWh due to maintenance and other constraints on its fleet of 56 reactors after the closure of Fessenheim in June.
"The execution of work that was due to be performed during the maintenance outages has been significantly affected [by the health crisis], thereby reducing power output capacity. EDF is consequently adjusting its maintenance outage plan in order to optimize output capacity," it said.
Information on the schedule for nuclear-unit outages would be updated as soon as possible, it added, with a number of maintenance stops already pushed deeper into 2020 or into early 2021 over recent weeks.
On Thursday, EDF further extended maintenance on both 1.3 GW reactors at Flamanville by another five months to the end of October, which alone cuts around 10 TWh of planned production this summer.