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Macron scrambles to maintain the lights on as EDF halts seven nuclear reactors to avoid wasting fuel | Science | News


French state-owned energy giant EDF has slammed the breaks on seven nuclear reactors over the previous couple of weeks because it scrambles to conserve power amid blackout fears. Data revealed on Thursday that the reactors with a complete capability of 6.3 gigawatts have been switched off to avoid wasting fuel for the colder weather that’s approaching, despite the nation fighting its power output in recent months 

Normally, France’s nuclear fleet generates 70 percent of the country’s electricity. But over the previous couple of months, corrosion issues identified in a lot of France’s ageing reactors forced the nation to take a record number offline, causing its power output to plummet.

While France’s grid operator has said that the chance of an electricity shortfall in January has been slashed because it managed to bring a lot of nuclear reactors back online, the most recent move could indicate that the situation just isn’t as stable because it would really like.

4 French units – Tricastin 1 (915 MV), Cruas ((915 MV), St Laurent (915 MV) and Dampierre 4 (890 MV) were switched off on Thursday and can make a comeback on Sunday because the country scrambles to shore up enough supplies for winter.

Tricsatin 4 (915 MV) stopped on Friday and can return to service on Wednesday, while Chinon 2 (905 MV) and Bugey (880 MV) have been offline since last Friday and Saturday respectively. They’ll get switched back on by Monday. 

That is despite Thomas Veyrenc, executive director in control of strategy at French operator RTE, saying earlier this month: “From the standpoint of security of supply, France is heading into the center of winter in a more favorable situation than initially of autumn, and higher prepared to face situations of tensions.”

Nevertheless, Paris has also confirmed that maintenance halts at two of Electricite de France SA’s reactors will last for an additional 4 months, and that it can have to perform lengthy repairs at seven other reactors next 12 months.

While EDF has returned a lot of units to service over the previous couple of weeks, experts have previously told Express.co.uk that its ageing plants will run much lower than their optimal capability this winter.

As an illustration, EDF’s Penly-2 unit got been delayed from January 29 to June 11, Meanwhile, the Golfech-1 generator, which was imagined to return to service on February 18, is not going to return until June 11.

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France can also be keeping the Cattenom-3 reactor offline for an additional month to March 26, and the Civaux-2 is not going to come back online until February 19.

Dr Paul Dorfman, a nuclear expert from the University of Sussex and an anti-nuclear campaigner, said: “France can have to roll out organised blackouts too…the nuclear fleet may be very old and cracking up…France is now even importing power from Germany.”

French analysts have also previously warned that the primary cold winter days are putting the resilience of its power network to the test, warning that there might be power cuts in the approaching months.

This also comes after it was revealed that France has change into the world’s biggest importer of Russian natural gas. Between January and October, the country imported 4.45 million tonnes of Russian liquified natural gas, a rise of 52 percent in a single 12 months.

That is despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutal war in Ukraine and EU efforts to slash dependence on Moscow’s energy supplies. Nevertheless, as France’s nuclear issues persist, the country might have anything it may get its hands on.

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But there are fears that the Kremlin could cut off much more supplies to Europe in retaliation to Western sanctions, with Putin repeatedly warning that he could “freeze” the continent this winter.

While saving nuclear fuel in preparation for a possible cut could provide EDF with a lifeline as temperatures plummet, experts have also warned that blackouts within the UK would change into more likely if France fails to stave off its own outages.

That’s because France and Britain exchange energy via interconnectors, with our partners across the Channel often being the web exporter. Dr Dorfman previously told Express.co.uk that there can be “no doubt” France will hold back on their usual levels of energy exports to Britain because it scrambles to maintain the lights on.

It comes after National Grid warned that if the UK fails to shore up enough energy imports this winter, it can have to roll out organised blackouts within the coldest winter months at peak times to balance the grid.

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