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French nuclear retreats from 12-month high amid early start to 2021 maintenance

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French nuclear retreats from 12-month high amid early start to 2021 maintenance

Highlights

Three units start maintenance this weekend

Bugey 2, Gravelines 3 to return Feb 8/9

Another 24-hour strike planned Feb 10

London — French nuclear generation availability is trending lower with three reactors scheduled to come offline for maintenance Feb. 6, market data showed Feb. 5.

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Nuclear peaked at a year-high of 52 GW in early January and was just below 50 GW on Feb. 5, according to system operator RTE.

Tricastin 2 was set to come offline overnight into Feb. 6 for a 10-year operation overhaul, the first of seven such extended outages this year.

From Feb. 6, six French reactors will have started 2021 maintenance, with five more to come this month, an unprecedented 11 reactors starting maintenance before March.

Reactors set for 10-year overhauls in 2021

Unit
MW
Outage Start
Scheduled Return
Tricastin 2
900
06/02/2021
27/07/2021
Cattenom 3
1300
13/02/2021
06/09/2021
Civeaux 1
1500
14/03/2021
16/09/2021
Dampierre 1
900
16/06/2021
06/12/2021
Gravelines 1
900
17/07/2021
25/01/2022
Bugey 5
900
21/07/2021
21/02/2022
Penly 1
1300
02/10/2021
21/03/2022

Source: EDF Transparency

S&P Global Platts Analytics assumes February output to average around 46 GW, a new record low for that month, before recovering above last year's monthly averages.

Meanwhile, two units were scheduled to return next week (Bugey-2 on Feb. 8 and Gravelines-3 on Feb. 9).

Nuclear generation averaged 49.8 GW in January, a record low for the month.

However, January's 37 TWh generated was up 8% from December as reactors returned.

Paluel 2 and Belleville 1 returned from extended outages, while maintenance at Flamanville 1 was extended by another month to the end of March.

Two strikes, an incident at Paluel and a return to milder and at times windy weather affected nuclear output in the second half of January.

Strikes continue

Another 24-hour strike was scheduled to start Feb. 9 at 2000 GMT, EDF said on its transparency website Feb. 4.

EDF workers are protesting against planned restructuring of the French state-owned utility, splitting nuclear and other operations.

Ongoing discussions with the European Commission about the details of the planned reform of the ARENH price mechanism have delayed a first presentation of those plans envisaged in January.

EDF currently has to sell 100 TWh of nuclear generation at Eur42/MWh to domestic suppliers.

The reform aims to lift prices as well as volumes.

French year-ahead power has risen above Eur53/MWh, the highest in 17 months, EEX data shows.

French Reactor Watchlist

Unit
MW
Outage Start
Scheduled Return
Notes
2020 Delays
Bugey 2
900
18/01/2020
08/02/2021
10-year-overhaul
Gravelines 3
900
12/09/2020
09/02/2021
Extra maintenance
Bugey 3
900
15/05/2020
15/02/2021
Extra maintenance
Chooz 1
1300
13/12/2020
28/02/2021
Technical investigation
Flamanville 1
1300
18/09/2019
31/03/2021
2019 overrun
Bugey 4
900
21/11/2020
06/07/2021
10-year-overhaul
2021 Maintenance
Paluel 4
1300
21/01/2021
07/03/2021
Refueling
Chinon 2
900
30/01/2021
25/04/2021
Extra maintenance
Civeaux 2
1500
30/01/2021
19/05/2021
Extra maintenance
Tricastin 2
900
06/02/2021
27/07/2021
10-year-overhaul
Chooz 2
1500
06/02/2021
26/03/2021
Refueling
Gravelines 5
900
06/02/2021
02/05/2021
Extra maintenance
Cattenom 3
1300
13/02/2021
06/09/2021
10-year-overhaul
Cruas 1
900
20/02/2021
16/05/2021
Refueling
St Laurent 2
900
20/02/2021
01/06/2021
Refueling
Dampierre 4
900
27/02/2021
14/04/2021
Refueling
Nogent 1
1300
27/02/2021
14/04/2021
Refueling

Source: EDF Transparency