France announces the closure of three nuclear power plants, 3.8 GW, due to the heating of river water with the heat wave

France announces the closure of three nuclear power plants, 3.8 GW, due to the heating of river water with the heat wave

The French state energy company, EDFhas announced that some of its power plants located on the Rhône and Garonne rivers will probably produce less electricity in the coming days, even if a minimum production would be maintained to guarantee the stability of the electricity grid.

Total it is about 3.8GW: Golfech up to 1 GW from August 4, Tricastin up to 2.2GW and Saint-Alban up to 0.6 GW from August 6. The heat wave hitting France increases the risk that nuclear reactors will reach the temperature limits to which their discharges are subject to preserve biodiversity.

More than half of the French nuclear fleet is no longer availabledue to planned maintenance but also corrosion problems in a number of reactors. The announced capacity reductions threaten to push up electricity prices even further, when they have already reached record levels on Tuesday in France and Germany.

[La sequía limita la energía hidráulica en España, la nuclear en Francia y el carbón en Alemania frente al gas ruso]

Faced with the risk of power outages, the ASN, the French nuclear watchdog, has granted exemptions for thermal discharges at four plants Golfech, Saint-Alban, Blayais and Bugey.

“To date, only the Bugey plant has made use of this exception, on July 19 and 20, due to the exceeding of the 26°C threshold in the Rhône downstream of the discharges after mixing,” he explains. Jessica Gonçalves, FED Press Associate.

But these exceptions, which are granted until August 7, still provide new temperature limitswhich are clearly at risk of being reached in Golfech and Saint-Alban. Météo France announced for this Wednesday and Thursday temperatures that could reach 40 ° C in the south of France.

EDF has also had to cut output from other reactors several times in recent weekswhich do not benefit from an exemption: the last episode concerned reactor number 2 of the power plant in Tricastinin the Rhône, which had to modulate its power twice, for a few hours, on July 29 and 31.

Belgium under control

In Belgium, the situation is under control. The July 19, however, the production of Doel 1 and 2 had to be cut in halfbecause the authorized average daily temperature for discharges, which is 32 degrees, threatened to be exceeded. Since then, the situation has back to normal.

“We are well below the limits,” explains Olivier Desclée, spokesman for Engie Electrabel. “The maximum authorized instantaneous temperature is 33°C, we were at 28.7°C on Tuesday at noon. The maximum daily temperature is 32°C, we were at 29.3°C on Tuesday. The monthly maximum temperature is 30 ° C, we are at 28.9 ° C. Based on the history, we do not expect problems in the days to come.”

in Tihangéthe standards are different: the difference between the water upstream and downstream of the plant cannot exceed 4 degrees, and the water cannot be more than 28°C downstream. Again, no problem announced in the short term. “Only one reactor is working, underlines Olivier Desclée. This Tuesday, the temperature differential was 2.5°C, with a downstream temperature of 25.8°C”.

The French energy company, however, relativizes the problem. “Since 2000, production losses due to high temperatures and low river flow have represented, on average, 0.3% of our annual production ”, calculates Jessica Gonçalves.

Source: Elespanol

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