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France's EDF returns Bugey-3 reactor, delays Belleville-2

EDF has returned its French 915 MW Bugey-3 reactor, bringing reactor returns in the regulator-requested review of documents relating to nuclear parts manufactured at the Le Creusot forge to six, the company said Thursday.

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At the same time, EDF delayed the planned restart of the 905-MW Chinon-3 reactor by a day to Friday and the return of the 1.3-GW Belleville-2 reactor by three days to next Tuesday, it said.

The cumulative delays for the planned return of the first six reactors in this review -- ignoring other operational maintenance issues -- amounted to 87 days, S&P Global Platts calculations show with the next six already at 155 days.

Only Nogent-1 returned ahead of its originally planned return date last Sunday.

None of the findings so far have called into question the safe operation of the reactors, EDF said.

There has been no update yet on the pending return of its 3.7 GW Tricastin nuclear power plant due to a temporary closure request by the nuclear safety regulator ASN with neither EDF nor ASN available to comment.

EDF also suffered an unplanned outage at its 1.3 GW Paluel-3 reactor on Tuesday with the unit schedule to return Friday.

French nuclear output fell back to 47 GW Thursday due to industrial action by EDF workers with output cut Thursday at the 1.3 GW Golfech-1 and 0.9 GW Cruas-1 units, EDF said on its transparency website.

Delays and extended outages announced in November have cut French nuclear output by around 5 TWh, according to Platts calculations.

EDF has cut its 2017 annual production target twice since September, mainly attributed to the temporary shutdown of the Tricastin NPP, with the lower range of its current target at 383 TWh.

EDF operates France's 58 reactors and after two record high years for nuclear output in 2014 and 2015 has struggled with extended outages in 2016 and 2017.

--Andreas Franke,

--Edited by Jonathan Dart,