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will France have to import electricity this winter?  – RT in French
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will France have to import electricity this winter? – RT in French
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EDF has confirmed that the two nuclear reactors at the Chooz power plant were shut down on December 18 for welding defects. As a result, France could have to import electricity from its European partners.

According to information reported by AFP, EDF has decided to shut down the two reactors at the Chooz nuclear power plant (Ardennes) “as a precautionary measure”, and to extend the shutdown of the two reactors at the Civaux power plant. (Vienna). This announcement follows the discovery of cracks in the welds in the pipes of the safety injection system. A circuit that cools the reactor in the event of an accident. With 15 reactors out of 56, the French nuclear fleet has never been so unproductive, as winter approaches.

Also according to AFP, the Institute for Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN), a public establishment expert in nuclear and radiological safety, announced on December 16 that “control actions may be necessary on other reactors in operation ”. IRSN also confirmed that investigations on EDF’s four reactors should last several weeks. Worse still, according to a member of IRSN quoted by The Parisian, “A generic anomaly relating to reactors of this type cannot be excluded at this stage”.

The shutdown of other reactors would reduce even more the production of a French nuclear fleet, already particularly reduced, in particular because of the postponements of maintenance operations decided by EDF in 2020 in view of the Covid-19.

Even before these closures, the electricity network manager Electricity transmission network (RTE) was already forecasting a winter in “particular vigilance”, fearing major peaks in consumption, especially in January and February, when temperatures are likely to occur. to be the lowest. Atomic energy accounts for 77% of French electricity production, and the health crisis has affected the plant maintenance schedule.

Will France have to import electricity?

With these reactors shut down on December 18, the French grid may need to import additional electricity. If RTE affirmed on December 17 that the security of supply of France in electricity was “well assured next week”, according to The Parisian, the country may have to appeal to its European partners – Germany in the lead – and therefore indirectly to Russia, which supplies more than a third of European gas power stations. A shame, when we know that France is committed to decarbonizing its electricity production as much as possible.

In reaction to this announcement, the price of electricity for delivery next year in France soared, reaching 300 euros per megawatt hour on the wholesale market. “The problems encountered on some French nuclear power plants and the low availability expected in the coming weeks or even the next few months have supported forward prices in France,” Eligio Marino, from the specialist firm AleaSoft, told AFP.

Before this announcement, electricity prices had already been on the rise for several weeks, as a result of the surge in gas prices, but also CO2 quotas on carbon markets, where companies buy and sell “rights”. to pollute ”allocated in limited numbers by the authorities.

If individuals and small businesses are protected by the limitation of the increase to 4% of the regulated sales tariff in 2022 decided by the government, manufacturers are strongly affected by the surge in energy prices. This is for example the case of the Nyrstar plant in Auby (Nord), the last to produce zinc in France with 300 employees, which will be shut down on January 2 for at least two months, due to the explosion of electricity prices, announced on December 16 the CGT and the management in a press release taken up by AFP.

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