A nuclear specialist has informed the Express that after France revealed delays in the refurbishment of its ageing nuclear reactors, the possibility that the UK could face blackouts this winter has increased.
Paris has acknowledged that two Electricite de France SA reactors’ maintenance halts would endure an additional four months and that it may need to do extensive repairs at seven more reactors next year.
However, as the country repairs its corroded, ageing nuclear reactors, France’s nuclear power production has dropped dramatically in recent months.
The nuclear fleet is quite old and breaking down, and France is now even importing electricity from Germany, he said. “France may have to roll out organised blackouts too…The nuclear fleet is very old and cracking up…France is now even importing power from Germany.”
But because of the nuclear concerns, France has been compelled to import electricity to avoid its own blackouts.
Bloomberg claims that since its reactors are now operating at little over two-thirds of normal capacity, more of its power will need to be generated from gas.
Before the nuclear problems were discovered, 70% of France’s energy was produced by nuclear power plants.
However, a total of 16 of its 56 reactors have been brought down for maintenance after several facilities had to be shut down due to stress corrosion fractures on pipes in the reactor cooling systems.
Its Golfech-1 generator would now have to wait until June 11 instead of returning to operation on February 18. Additionally, the Civaux-2 reactor is available until February 19 while the Cattenom-3 reactor will remain down until March 26.
When Pairs sought for permission to cut its nuclear exports to the UK in half for one day, which was granted by Britain, it exposed the strain that these shutdowns are putting on the French energy grid.