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French nuclear ramps up to 40 GW as Penly returns

Highlights

Penly 1 back, Flamanville 2 delayed one week

Nuclear generation now above year-ago levels

YTD nuclear output down 47 TWh to September

London — French nuclear generation rose above 40 GW after operator EDF restarted the 1.3-GW Penly-1 reactor overnight, system data showed Oct. 15.

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Nuclear output now exceeds last year's mid-October level after setting continuous record lows since November, 2019, with the shortfall as wide as 12 GW early September.

Nuclear averaged 36.5 GW in the seven days to Oct. 11, up from September's 30 GW average.

EDF on Oct. 14 lifted its 2020 nuclear output estimate by 10 TWh to a range of 325 TWh to 335 TWh, which would be 44 TWh to 55 TWh below 2019.

Nuclear output for the first nine months 2020 was 47 TWh down on the same period last year, indicating no major setbacks for the remainder of the year.

EDF delayed Oct. 15 the planned return date for Flamanville 2 by one week to Nov. 8 and pushed back the Chinon 1 restart by ten days to Oct. 31, it said in transparency notes.

Improved supply from nuclear added to strong hydro generation and rising wind output with France back in a net export position after turning net importer for September, unprecedented during a summer month.

September spot power prices average was the highest since Jan. 2019 above Eur47/MWh.

A colder than normal start to October boosted demand peaks to 64 GW, the highest since last winter, but temperatures were forecast to rise above norms in the week starting Oct. 19 with demand peaks next Friday forecast 8 GW lower, according to grid operator RTE's 7-day outlook.

RTE in September warned of a potentially tight supply situations late Nov./early Dec. in case of a cold spell with vigilance required to return dates at Flamanville and Bugey.

Flamanville 1 has been delayed six weeks to mid-Dec., while the two units at Bugey were delayed to end-Jan. 2021.

November baseload power traded at Eur47/MWh on EEX Oct. 15 after closing Sept. 4 above Eur65/MWh as winter concerns eased.