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Delayed reactor returns slash French nuclear availability nearly 9 GW


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London — Available nuclear power generating capacity in France fell sharply by almost 9 GW after EDF delayed the return of multiple nuclear plants, while high temperatures continued to restrict production at its Saint Alban power station, the operator said.

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This amounted to a total nuclear output loss of around 2.37 TWh, according to S&P Global Platts calculations. In updates over the weekend and on Monday, EDF announced plans to delay the return of its 1.31-GW Nogent-1 reactor by more than five weeks to September 19, after initially expecting a two-day outage that started on late Thursday night. Also restarting on September 19 is EDF's 890-MW Dampierre nuclear unit-1, where production stopped on Saturday.

The return of Dampierre-3, with the same generating capacity on the other hand, was delayed by two days after it was taken off the grid on August 6. The 1.31-GW Golfech-2 reactor, which was taken off the grid for planned outage in May, is now expected to restart on Friday, extending the outage by four days.

The restart of both 915-MW Cruas-4 and 1.495-GW Civaux-1, which was scheduled for Tuesday, was set to return on Friday and Saturday, respectively, EDF said. Environmental issues in France due to high temperatures heating river water, which is used for cooling nuclear reactors, continued to hurt power production at EDF's St Alban-2 power unit.

It is expected to keep available only 260 MW out of 1.33 GW capacity for generation between midnight and 8:00 am (0600 GMT) local time on Tuesday. These plant outages resulted in a drop in power generation from nuclear stations to less than 37 GW Monday morning, grid operator RTE data showed, compared with 37.5 GW at the same time last week.

Net exports to neighboring countries slumped to 3.5 GW Monday, down by 5 GW week-on-week. Coal-, gas- and hydro power production were fairly similar on the week at 550 MW, 3 GW and more than 6 GW, respectively. In response to the outages, French baseload day-ahead prices along with the neighboring spot market, climbed on Monday to more than a four-month high of Eur67.36/MWh, EPEX Spot auction data showed.

Reactor Available capacity (MW) Outage start Outage end Outage delays (number of days) Production shortfall (TWh)
890-MW Dampierre-3 0 06/08/2018 22/08/2018 2 0.04
1310-MW Golfech-2 0 26/05/2018 24/08/2018 4 0.13
1300-MW Cattenom-1 0 11/08/2018 29/08/2018 7.5 0.23
915-MW Cruas-4 0 05/05/2018 24/08/2018 3 0.07
1495-MW Civaux-1 0 20/08/2018 25/08/2018 5 0.18
1335-MW St Alban-2 260 21/08/2018 21/08/2018 7.5 hours 0.01
New outage Number of days of unavailability
1310-MW Nogent-1 0 16/08/2018 16/09/2018 32 1.01
890-MW Dampierre-1 0 18/08/2018 19/09/2018 33 0.70
Total 2.37

--Anuradha Ramanathan,

--Edited by Jonathan Dart,