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Hot weather cuts French nuclear generation

  • Jul 25, 2019
Agency Tunis Afrique Press

25/07/2019 10:37, PARIS /France

(TAP) - Scorching temperatures across Europe coupled with prolonged dry weather has reduced French nuclear power generation by around 5.2 gigawatts (GW) or 8%, French power grid operator RTE's data showed on Thursday.

Electricity output was curtailed at six reactors by 0840 GMT on Thursday, while two other reactors were offline, the data showed. High water temperatures and sluggish flow limit the ability to use river water to cool reactors.

Thursday is expected to be the peak in the second heatwave in successive months to hit western Europe with record temperatures expected in several towns in France.

Utility EDF, which operates France's 58 nuclear reactors, said that generation at its Bugey, St-Alban and Tricastin nuclear power plants may be curbed until after July 26 because of the low flow rate and high temperatures of the Rhone.

Its two reactors at the 2,600 megawatt (MW) Golfech nuclear power plant in the south of France were offline due to high temperatures on the Garonne river.

EDF's use of water from rivers as coolant is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life and it is obliged to cut output in hot weather when water temperatures rise, or when river levels and flow rate are low.

Atomic power from France's 58 reactors accounts for over 75 percent of its electricity needs. Available nuclear power supply was down 1.4 percentage points at 65.3% of total capacity compared with Wednesday.

A spokeswoman for grid operator RTE said that although electricity demand was expected to rise due to increased consumption for cooling, France had enough generation capacity to cover demand. Peak power demand could be above 59.7 GW reached the previous day.

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