The Daily Telegraph

EDF delays the restart of two reactors

- By Matt Oliver

FRENCH state energy giant EDF has delayed the restart of two nuclear reactors in a further setback for electricit­y supplies this winter.

The company blamed the delays at Chooz-1, in Ardennes, and Blayais-1, in Gironde, on repairs that are taking longer than expected.

It is now hoping to restart Chooz-1 on Feb 28, a month later than planned, and Blayais-1 on Feb 11, 10 days later than planned.

The extended outages will further delay the full recovery of France’s nuclear fleet at a time when they are most needed, with Europe in the teeth of winter demand.

Historical­ly, France has generated roughly 70pc of its electricit­y through nuclear power.

But EDF has been grappling with an unpreceden­ted number of outages in the past year due to delayed maintenanc­e and problems with stress corrosion in its reactors.

The issues have reduced its nuclear output to a 30-year low just as Russia’s war in Ukraine sent energy prices soaring, leaving the company scrambling to get reactors back online.

Mild and windy weather this winter has partly come to the rescue, reducing demand in France and neighbouri­ng markets such as Britain.

France’s power output is important to the UK as well, because the National Grid’s plans for meeting demand during the winter assume that it will be able to tap French supplies during peak times through electricit­y interconne­ctors.

The country is normally a major exporter of power to Britain and the Continent but EDF’S nuclear outages turned it into a net importer during the first half of 2022.

Meanwhile, Paris set out plans to partly rely on British power this winter – even as National Grid did the reverse.

Electricit­y supplies are also coming under some additional pressure after the Cordemais coal-fired plant halted operations as workers went on strike to protect jobs and push for a plan to make the power station carbon neutral.

Agnès Pannier-runacher, France’s energy transition minister, yesterday told a French radio station that she was “confident in our ability to go through the winter, but we have to remain vigilant”.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom