shutdown nuclear power plants will reopen this winter, promises EDF

The 26 French nuclear reactors now shut down should have resumed their electricity production during the winter, EDF management announced on Wednesday, under pressure at the approach of a tense season on the front. energy security. France is facing exceptional unavailability of its fleet of 56 reactors: the “effective” holding of this schedule for returning to the network will play an essential role in electricity management this winter, warned RTE, the network manager, on Wednesday.

Corrosion-related projects “are progressing at a good pace”

At the origin of this situation, the delay in ten-year maintenance, due to the Covid, and the discovery last winter of corrosion problems, forcing EDF to undertake an almost general inspection. Wednesday before the deputies, the CEO of EDF Jean-Bernard Lévy indicated that “the sites related to corrosion were progressing at a good pace: Tricastin 3, the first, is finished”.

Regarding the restart of the 26 reactors currently shut down, five must start again in September, five in October, followed by seven additional in November, three in December, three in January then two in February, explained Cédric Lewandowski, executive director from EDF. A 26th today in “fortuitous” stop should restart shortly. “To date, 27 reactors are connected to the network and three are in fuel economy in order to be able to produce next winter,” according to Jean-Bernard Lévy.

EDF teams “fully mobilized”

The latter, however, underlined the “lack of room for maneuver in the sector to absorb (more quickly) this unexpected increase in load”, especially in the most specialized operations. “Our teams and those of our industrial partners are fully mobilized to put as many reactors as possible back on the network for the next winter,” he said, adding that the group now had “a means of non-destructive testing” to continue the corrosion diagnostics.

But “we are facing an unexpected combination of activities, which mobilizes specialized and rare skills, of pipefitters, welders, valve makers, boilermakers… This skills deficit affects our ability to repair at the rate we would like”, a- he said. The boss of EDF, whose successor will be known shortly, took the opportunity to return to his recent remarks critical of the state’s nuclear strategy, deemed “unacceptable” by Emanuel Macron.

The positive dynamic in favor of nuclear power “reengaged”

On Wednesday he insisted on the impact of Fukushima and on “the political context of 2012”, then favorable to an exit from nuclear power. Today “the positive dynamic (in favor of nuclear power, editor’s note) has been reactivated, with the Belfort speech in particular, but it will take time, it’s industrial time”, he said. “If, ten years ago, we had been able to launch two or three reactor sites, we could have had them”, these specialized workers, he notes.

After having planned to reduce the wings of nuclear power, a decision recorded in a law of 2015, France chose to relaunch the atom, by the voice of the President of the Republic who in Belfort, in February, wanted the construction of six new EPR-type reactors.

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