France’s EDF plans to restart nation’s entire nuclear fleet by early next year

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France plans to restart the nation’s entire nuclear fleet by early next year. One of the largest producers of nuclear power in the world, state-owned EDF is trying to avoid disruption to its energy supply over the winter at all costs. 

The minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, said the company was on board with the schedule.

“As you know, 32 reactors are shut down, some for stress corrosion and others for routine maintenance,” said Pannier-Runacher. “EDF has undertaken to restart all the reactors this winter. We are monitoring the situation closely with weekly updates and we are being especially vigilant to ensure that this schedule is kept.”

Ambitious timetable

According to EDF’s projections, 27 nuclear reactors must restart by the end of December, followed by 5 others between early January and mid-February 2023.

However, many question the company’s ability to do it, especially for the 12 reactors stopped for stress corrosion. Repairing them requires long and complex operations. The President of the Nuclear Safety Authority, Bernard Doroszczuk, warned that other problems could also be detected, leading to the new closures.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne, has urged the management of EDF to find solutions quickly, to avoid having to restart coal-fired plants this winter. 

This drop in production, coupled with the reduced use of Russian gas in thermal power plants, continues to put pressure to increase prices. The wholesale cost of the megawatt has been multiplied by 10 in one year, reaching €1000.