London — French utility EDF has lifted cost estimates for its "Grand Carenage" reactor life-span extension program to Eur49.4 billion ($57 billion), up Eur1.2 billion from its 2018 estimate, it said Oct. 29.
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The new estimate takes into account lessons from completed work, notably on 900 MW-class reactors, it said.
It also factors in the impact of longer maintenance outages as well as the coronavirus crisis over 2020-22.
Program costs were estimated at Eur55 billion in 2015, but revised lower to Eur45 billion in 2018, or Eur48.2 billion in real-price terms adjusted for inflation.
To date some 24, 10-year-operation overhauls have been carried out under the Grand Carenage on 900 MW, 1300 MW and 1450 MW class reactors, with replacement of 52 back-up diesel generators.
EDF operates 54 reactors with a total 61 GW capacity.
France in 2017 delayed a target to reduce the share of nuclear in the generation mix to 50% by 10 years to 2035.
2020 record low
French 2020 nuclear output is on track for a record low, trailing 2019 output over January-October by around 50 TWh.
Reactor availability has risen in October, reducing the on year gap.
EDF said Oct. 15 it saw sufficient nuclear supply for winter, with 42-43 reactors expected online in November.
This would include Flamanville 2, offline since January 2019 for a 10-year overhaul initially scheduled to last eight months, underlining the complexity of some maintenance.
Meanwhile market participants were awaiting the outcome of a review of the so-called ARENH mechanism amid a wider restructuring of France's energy landscape that may include a split of EDF's nuclear business.
Before the coronavirus crisis, EDF was confident that the proposed reform could become effective from January 2022 with the government and the European Commission discussing a "cap and floor" at a higher price than the current Eur42/MWh at which EDF was required to sell 100 TWh of its nuclear output to domestic suppliers.
EDF is to report quarterly results Nov. 13 after lifting Oct. 14 its 2020 French nuclear output estimate by 10 TWh to a range of 325 TWh to 335 TWh.