EDF advances relaunch of three reactors involved in safety investigation

12/12/2016 09:25 Electricity Market

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French utility EDF has advanced the relaunch date of three nuclear reactors involved in a safety investigation, signaling it may have obtained the authorization from safety regulator ASN to restart production.

An update on EDF and French grid operator RTE's website made known on Saturday that the restart date for the 900 megawatt-each Gravelines 2, Dampierre 3 and Tricastin 3 nuclear reactors was brought forward to December 20 from December 31 as initially scheduled. The three nuclear reactors are among 12 involved in a safety examination started by ASN. ASN declared on Monday it was ready to give green light to the restart of seven of those reactors planned to relaunch production on December 31, after EDF handed more test results on their operational safety. Nevertheless, the regulator requested EDF to accomplish extra tests on the some of the reactors, and declared the restart of the reactors would be subject to individual authorization, and that it would notify EDF of new potential restart dates. ASN started the investigation after increasing concerns that certain steam generator channel heads in the reactors might have a zone with a high carbon concentration, which could weaken the flexibility of the steel and its ability to resist the spreading of cracks. The probe has postponed the relaunch of the reactors, obliging EDF to extend their outage periods and increasing fears that France, which relies on its 58 nuclear reactors for 75 percent of its power needs, could deal with a tight supply this winter.

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