London — Europe's biggest power generator EDF sees French nuclear output in a range between 393-396 TWh, potentially slightly below its "above 395 TWh" target, it said late Tuesday in its quarterly earnings report.
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French nuclear performance has improved following a near-record low 379 TWh in 2017, but this is still only the fourth time this century for annual output below 400 TWh for the current fleet of 58 reactors.
EDF has now submitted all 58 reactor dossiers to nuclear safety regulator ASN in the Creusot review with 49 reactors already cleared, it said with 10 reactors scheduled to return from maintenance by mid-December.
EDF management remains confident it will reach its 2018 EBITDA earnings forecast of Eur14.8-15.3 billion (about $16.7-$17.3 billion) even if French nuclear comes in slightly below target with French hydro output for the first three quarters already above FY 2017 output at 38 TWh.
EDF's head of nuclear operations Dominique Miniere highlighted extended outages at Dampierre-4 (steam generator) and Chooz-1 (low river levels) that have cut over 3 TWh from planned production.
EDF declined to comment on future French energy policy with CFO Xavier Girre only saying "we have to wait a few weeks" for the PPE plan by the government.
EDF also confirmed the delayed schedule for the new reactor project at Flamanville-3 with hot testing scheduled to start before the end of this year and fuel loading expected during Q4 2019.
In the UK, the 3.3 GW Hinkley Point C nuclear project is advancing as planned, but output from existing reactors was down 6% on year at 46 TWh for the first three quarters, it said.
FRENCH ANNUAL NUCLEAR OUTPUT (in TWh)
Source: RTE *=forecast
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