French nuclear output is approaching the 30 GW mark slightly behind schedule as Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire on Oct. 11 called upon operator EDF to have 50 GW available by early-January.
Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.Register Now
Reactor output peaked at 29.44 GW during Oct. 11 morning peaks, the highest since early-June, but EDF delayed three reactor returns scheduled for the coming days at Paluel 2, Cruas 3 and 4 by a few days.
Le Maire told state broadcaster France Info that returning reactors as soon as possible was EDF's priority, with the ramp-up schedule needing to to be respected.
The state-owned company had the competency and the total engagement of its employees to achieve 50 GW in early-January, Le Maire said.
Some 24 out of EDF's 56 reactors are scheduled to return before the end of the year, which would lift availability well above 50 GW early-January coinciding with the tightest supply-demand period.
Five units are scheduled to return early-2023.
S&P Global Commodity Insights forecast output to average above 47 GW in January and February, with some units starting to come offline for early-2023 maintenance from late-January onward.
A mild October meanwhile eased pressure on demand as well as power prices with French week-ahead power for the week Oct. 17-23 trading Oct. 11 at Eur230/MWh on EEX, down from a Eur381.61/MWh settlement Oct. 6.
Average temperatures are forecast some 6 C above norms Oct. 18, according to grid operator RTE's latest forecast with peak demand currently unlikely to exceed 53 GW during the week ahead.
November contracts eased to Eur770/MWh Oct. 11 after starting the month just above Eur1,000/MWh.
Further out, December still trades at Eur1,205/MWh amid significant risk of an early pre-Christmas cold snap coinciding with delays to EDF's tight and ambitious ramp-up schedule.
RTE's winter outlook pegged peak demand during cold snaps at around 95 GW.
On average, two reactors are schedule to return each week for the remainder of 2022.
Annual nuclear output was on track for a record-low for the current fleet, with EDF estimating output toward the lower range of its 280-300 TWh estimate.
So far this year, nuclear generated some 215 TWh.
The October-to-date average around 26 GW is lagging behind a 31 GW average for the whole-month forecast by S&P Global amid strikes delaying the ramp up as well as reducing output at some reactors.
FRENCH REACTOR WATCHLIST WINTER 2022/2023
Source: EDF Transparency