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French nuclear power supply cuts extended as hot weather lingers


1,335 MW St Alban-1, 910 MW Bugey-2 offline until next Saturday

Reduced available capacity at St Alban-2, Bugey-3, Fessenheim-2

Prompt power price rally continues due to supply pressures

London — With France bracing for more hot to very hot weather in the coming week, nuclear power plant operator EDF said Friday it plans to halt production completely at two of its reactors near the river Rhone, water from which is used for cool them, and reduce available capacity at other units next week.

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In its latest update on Friday, EDF said production capacity at the 1,335 MW St Alban-1 and 910 MW Bugey-2 reactors would drop to zero until Saturday next week, reducing capacity from Friday afternoon. The 910 MW Bugey-3 will also remain unavailable for power generation from late Friday but with an expected restart on Wednesday.

Out of the 1,335 MW St Alban-2 installed capacity, 950 MW will remain available to the market over the weekend, EDF said, while 600 MW will be available from its 880 MW Fessenheim-2 nuclear reactor over the weekend and until Monday midnight.

EDF, however, warned that the planning and duration of the unavailability due to environmental issues will be reassessed according to the weather forecast. These supply restriction warnings due to hot weather began late July at the onset of the heatwave which is currently covering Europe.

Furthermore, forecasters predict temperatures in France, Germany, Italy and Spain to stay above seasonal averages next week, with forecaster MeteoFrance expecting Portugal temperatures to hit 48 degrees Celsius over this weekend.

The hot weather and the resulting nuclear supply restrictions sent the prompt power prices in the wholesale market to winter levels as countries are ramping up the more expensive fossil fuel power plants, analysis shows.

French day-ahead baseload for Monday delivery was last heard trading at Eur66.50/MWh on the over-the-counter market, reaching a new summer high and the highest in more than five months, data showed.

--Anuradha Ramanathan,

--Edited by Jeremy Lovell,