France’s EDF Delays Restart of Nuclear Reactors in Blow to Energy Supply
(Bloomberg) — Electricite de France SA extended maintenance halts at two nuclear reactors by four months, further straining power supplies in France and neighboring countries this winter.
The world’s largest nuclear fleet has suffered prolonged shutdowns this year that have left Europe even more reliant on natural gas at a time of record prices. While EDF has returned many units to service in recent weeks, its aging plants look set to run far below optimal capacity this winter. That could worsen an energy supply crisis that’s already cost Europe $1 trillion to try to contain.
The restart of EDF’s Penly-2 unit has been delayed to June 11 from Jan. 29, while its Golfech-1 generator will also be back online June 11 rather than Feb. 18, the utility said Monday in a message to the grid operator.
In addition, the halt of Cattenom-3 is extended by one month to March 26, and the restart of Civaux-2 is postponed by more than a month to Feb. 19.
France has been forced to import power, having traditionally been a major exporter to neighboring countries. Its reactors are now running at just over two-thirds of typical capacity. That means more electricity will have to come from gas, eating into European storage that’s become more difficult to refill after Russia cut supplies.
France’s grid operator has warned of a potential electricity shortfall in the colder months as heating demand rises while the utility continues to grapple with reactor repairs.
EDF said Friday that it’s also delayed the startup of a new nuclear reactor in western France by several months into 2024 due to extended work. That project is already more than a decade late.
(Updates with Europe’s energy bill in second paragraph.)
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