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France to avoid the worst for this winter

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The Nuclear Safety Authority on Wednesday validated EDF’s technique to take care of corrosion issues which can be hampering electrical energy provide prospects this winter. Currently, about thirty of the 56 reactors are shut down, together with 12 for corrosion and 18 for scheduled upkeep.

France has been spared a bleak state of affairs for its electrical energy provide, already tight for subsequent winter, with nuclear policemen on Wednesday July 27 validating EDF’s technique to take care of corrosion issues affecting some reactors.

EDF plans to check all its reactors by ultrasound by 2025 to look for any indicators of the downside that has shut down 12 of the 56 reactors.

The group should prioritize controlling the most delicate areas of the 1,450 MW reactor – the strongest – and elements of the 1,300 MW.

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) “considers that EDF’s technique is suitable given the data gained from the incident and associated issues of safety”, it indicated in a press launch, with out demanding a regulatory timetable. More strict total.

“However, concerning reactor 2 of the Belleville nuclear energy plant, ASN considers that the inspection of this reactor scheduled for 2024 is just too late”, he famous.

EDF “takes be aware” and is “learning a brand new programming of controls for this reactor”, the group indicated in an data be aware.

The verify schedule is “a part of the shutdowns already scheduled for 2022 to 2025,” the firm underlines. But “these stoppages could also be prolonged in case of repairs for a complete interval of up to 25 weeks”.

ASN additionally considers that data of the phenomenon is “nonetheless evolving” and that “the inspection program have to be tailored if inspection or evaluation reveals new parts”.

These corrosion issues are detected or suspected in the bend welding of the security injection pipe (RIS) – which permits the reactor to settle down in the occasion of an accident linked to the major circuit. This so-called “stress” corrosion leads to small cracks.

Some reactor shutdown reactor cooling circuits (RRA) may even be examined.

Thirty furnaces are at the moment closed

This erosion downside reduces the prospects for nuclear energy era this yr and the monetary outcomes for EDF, whose authorities plans 100% regeneration.

It additionally raised considerations for France’s electrical energy provide subsequent winter. Currently 30 reactors out of 56 are shut down, together with 12 for corrosion and 18 for scheduled upkeep.

From this viewpoint, ASN’s resolution on Wednesday doesn’t make the scenario worse as a result of the nuclear policeman doesn’t demand a fast verify, synonymous with reactor shutdown, however primarily validates the EDF schedule.

“The state of affairs we are able to escape from is one the place the ASN provides an extra constraint that reduces nuclear availability for the coming winter”, explains Julien Tede, basic supervisor of dealer Opéra Energie. “A unfavorable opinion from ASN may very well be unhealthy information”, even “a catastrophe”, he notes.

“I discover it moderately reassuring that ASN is making this resolution,” CGT Mines-Energie’s Sébastien Menesplier stated in an interview with AFP. “Given as we speak’s vitality scenario and manufacturing fleet, ASN had higher confirm this, in any other case we might be in for an inferno.”

Supply considerations this winter come on prime of different elements, from rising fuel costs to fears of shortages amid the Ukraine invasion, which is sending electrical energy costs skyrocketing.

Prices have almost doubled in a couple of weeks: Electricity for supply in France in 2023 traded round 500 euros per megawatt hour (MWh) on Wednesday, down from lower than 300 euros in mid-June.

These futures costs not obey their regular financial logic however most likely replicate “expectations of a extreme scarcity” and “a excessive danger premium in the French electrical energy market”, in accordance to the sector regulator.

The risk just isn’t restricted to the nuclear fleet. “The actual query for me is interconnection”, when France is dependent upon its neighbors for a part of the winter, choose Julien Tede.

“If there may be fuel rationing subsequent winter, with further questions of solidarity between the states, it doesn’t appear to me to be utterly gained that the Germans agree to burn fuel to produce electrical energy and ship it to France”, he warned.

With AFP

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