EDF: French annual nuclear power production down 3.8% in 2012

23/01/2013 00:27

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French annual nuclear power production from 58 reactors owned by EDF totaled 404.9 TWh last year, a decrease of 3.8% compared to 421.1 TWh in 2011, this being the first decline since the crisis in 2009 (- 6.6%).

This outcome is more than 5 TWh below targets, which had been lowered in mid-November to 410 TWh, while it was initially set between 420 and 425 TWh and had been reduced to 415 TWh during the summer. EDF attributed this slight drop in nuclear power production to the following two factors: mild weather and maintenance shut downs. The exceptional mild temperatures, which were recorded since September, have impacted power demand, while wind and sun conditions favored renewable energy plants, which have a priority on the grid. As for the nuclear plants outages for maintenance, two reactors have been halted late December to adapt production to a lower power demand for that time of year (the reactor of Blayais nuclear power plant was halted on 21 December and the reactor of Penly nuclear plant on 24 December). However, the largest decline of nuclear production compared to 2011 occurred in the third quarter, with a decline exceeding 6% between July and September, when many plants restarts supported few days of delay. In contrast, the production of nuclear energy of EDF group in the UK grew by 7.5% year on year to 60 TWh at the top of the range from 57 to 60 TWh. The nuclear shortfall was replaced by higher output from hydroelectric plants, which supply around 10% of the nation's power and more favorable weather conditions in 2012 meant that reservoir levels maintained a slight excess, with levels at around 70% of capacity at the end of December. The decline in nuclear generation in France could have an impact on EBITDA of the group, which will be published in mid-February. At present, the nuclear accounts for around 90% of electricity production in France.

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