France to restart nuclear reactors – energy ministry
Six of the 12 nuclear reactors in France that were found to have corrosion issues in May have been repaired and will be restarted soon, French Energy Minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher has revealed.
She told France Inter radio on Wednesday that, at the moment, there was “no reason” to believe that energy operator EDF would not be able to meet the schedule for restarting all shutdown reactors before winter.
Earlier, media reports stated that EDF had hired about 100 American welders from Westinghouse in order to repair the power units on time.
France generates roughly 70% of its electricity from a nuclear fleet of 56 reactors, all operated by EDF. However, many of them have been closed down for maintenance, some due to corrosion-related issues. Currently, only 31 units are reportedly operating. EDF has pledged to restart all shutdown reactors before winter to avoid power shortages in the country.
However, since October 6, there have been strikes among EDF employees involved in repair work at 19 reactors, delaying maintenance by several weeks.
Last month, the French national electricity grid operator RTE warned that it would not rule out the risk of blackouts this winter due to prolonged strikes halting the repair. According to RTE, outages could only be avoided if power consumption was reduced by 1% to 5%, while in the event of an extremely cold winter – by 15%. Failure to restart the plants on time could have “heavy consequences” for power supply over the winter period, the operator has warned.
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