EDF forced to reduce its electricity production due to the heat

The heat wave adds to the many setbacks for EDF. While the thermometer is racing all over France, and the water is running out in places, the energy company indicated, Friday, August 5, having to further reduce its production, due to the heat. In fact, power stations that have to pump water to cool their reactors are subject to regulatory limits on the temperature of discharge into the rivers that border them.

Currently, two power plants are concerned, that of Golfech (Tarn-et-Garonne) and that of Bugey (Ain), while the group had warned, Thursday August 4, that it could also shut down a reactor of that of Tricastin (Drôme). At Golfech, one of the reactors saw its power reduced. “At the request of the national electricity network operator RTE, production unit number 2 of the Golfech power plant remains in production (minimum power) [ce qui correspond à 300 mégawatts (MW) contre 1 300 MW normalement] in accordance with the provisions of the decree of September 18, 2006”said EDF in a press release.

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These measures provide for the establishment of higher thresholds “in exceptional weather conditions”. Which, in this case, is the case in Golfech, where the temperature of the Garonne reached 28 ° C. For its part, the Bugey power station – which was also the subject of temporary exemptions to raise these thresholds – had to reduce the power of two of its reactors. “The production units numbers 2 and 5 have been maintained on the network in compliance with the provisions relating to exceptional climatic situations”reported the group, which notes a temperature of the Rhone of more than 25 ° C.

Dams and gas plants too

The Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) has also extended until September 11 the environmental exemption, which initially ran until August 7, from which four power plants already benefited – Bugey, Blayais [Gironde]Golfech, Saint-Alban [Isère] – in order to continue their operation. “ASN also authorised, on Thursday August 4, a fifth exemption authorisation, concerning that of Tricastin”we added to the Ministry of Energy Transition, which formally endorsed this decision in a decree published on Saturday August 6 in Official newspaper.

For the time being, EDF puts the scope of these hazards into perspective, indicating that, since 2000, production losses have represented an average of 0.3% of the fleet’s annual production. However, this year, these declines came earlier than usual – as early as May. “Since the beginning of 2022, 470 gigawatt hours [GWh] were lost compared to 2021 due to the weather,” do we calculate at Callendar, a French start-up that assesses the impact of climate change on the nuclear fleet. This is still limited, corresponding to 0.13% of the total production of nuclear electricity.

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