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France's Golfech 2 reactor offline as heatwave lifts river temperatures

Highlights

Second 24-hour outage at Golfech, fleet ramped up to 33 GW

Chooz 1 return delayed four days to Aug 19, low river warning

Penly 1 return brought forward 38 days to Sep 23

London — France's 1.3-GW Golfech 2 reactor was taken offline Aug. 12 for a second 24-hour outage as a heatwave lifted river temperatures in the Garonne in Southern France, operator EDF said.

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French nuclear output ramped up to 33.2 GW by 10:30 am local time (0830 GMT) before the outage was set to start at 11:30 am local time, grid data show.

EDF also delayed the planned return of the 1.5-GW Chooz 1 unit by four days to Aug. 19, it said after warning Aug. 10 that low river levels on the Meuse in Northern France could lead to output restrictions for one unit at Chooz.

Chooz 1 has been offline since February for a 10-year-overhaul, the outage was initially extended to October due to coronavirus restrictions, that have eased since.

The 1.3-GW Nogent 2, also offline since February for such an overhaul, returned in early August, with a number of other reactors boosting French nuclear output.

French nuclear output averaged 31 GW for the past two weeks after hitting a record low of 26 GW in the week ending July 5, with July and August-to-date nuclear production exceeding expectations.

"French nuclear output has never dropped below 30 GW on a daily basis in week 32, adding strong upside risks to our view of 28 GW average for [August]," S&P Global Platts Analytics said Aug. 7.

EDF on Aug. 12 also brought forward by 38 days the return for the 1.3-GW Penly 1 reactor further raising fourth-quarter availability, which was most affected by coronavirus-related delays in April with EDF on July 2 lifting its 2020 nuclear output target by up to 8% citing an improved availability outlook.

French August-to-date spot power continued its upward trend with the August average potentially registering the first year-on-year rise this year.

However, temperatures were forecast to ease over coming days with the near-term gas price recovery easing and EU CO2 prices falling after hitting a 14-year-high in July offsetting some of the bullish price drivers.