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EDF delays French Bugey reactor returns to end-Nov, Q4 prices rise

Highlights

10-year overhaul at Bugey 2 extended by 81 days to Nov. 30

Bugey 3 outage extended to end-Nov. cancelling later works

French Q4 base rises with wider gains for CO2, gas

London — EDF has delayed planned return dates for two 900 MW nuclear reactors at its Bugey site in France by a combined 166 days from mid-Sept. to Nov. 30, the French utility said late Aug. 27.

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The delay amounts to a maximum loss of 3.6 TWh in notional generation this autumn.

However, the extension to Bugey 3's current unplanned outage (the unit has been offline since May 15) cancels a planned maintenance from November to Jan. 8, offsetting some 1.5 TWh in potential lost output.

"The extension of this shutdown allows the realization of the activities planned during the maintenance shutdown initially planned," EDF said in the transparency note.

Bugey 2 meanwhile was taken offline in January for a 10-year overhaul scheduled to last six months.

That outage was extended in April by two months due to coronavirus restrictions before EDF July 27 reset the return date for Sept. 10, and now Nov. 30.

There was no specific reason given by EDF for the latest delay beyond "COVID-19 uncertainties".

Two other reactors undergoing similar once every decade overhauls (Nogent 2, Chooz 1) completed works close to the original schedule and returned in August.

Elsewhere, production restrictions due to low river levels at the 3 GW Chooz plant on the border to Belgium were extended by two days to Sept. 10, EDF said Aug. 26, with smaller limited outages impacting production at the 1.3 GW St Alban 2 unit on the Rhone river downstream from Lyon.

Improved French reactor availability reduced August's nuclear year-on-year deficit to around 6 GW after record lows earlier this summer led to a 10 GW on-year decline.

French nuclear output has averaged around 31 GW over the past four weeks versus 26 GW in the week ending July 5.

French Q4 baseload power prices rose overnight by around 8% to trade at Eur57.95/MWh, EEX data show.

November baseload traded at Eur63.50/MWh, also some Eur4/MWh higher from its Aug. 27 settlement.

French Cal-21 baseload power rose almost 10% week on week to trade at Eur48.30/MWh Aug. 28 amid bullish gains for CO2 and gas lifting the wider power market.