PARIS Nov 15 EDF will not be able to
restart seven nuclear reactors undergoing safety checks for at
least another 45 days, France's nuclear watchdog ASN said on
Tuesday, suggesting a potential setback in EDF's plans to
restart the reactors by the year-end.
EDF has been told to conduct checks on 12 reactors at the
request of ASN, leading to lower than usual power capacity in
France in the run-up to winter and triggering a jump in European
prices to multi-year highs.
ASN has yet to receive additional information it has
requested from EDF regarding seven reactors, a spokeswoman told
Reuters, confirming an earlier report by BFM Business radio.
The safety regulator needs a month to take a decision on a
reactor restart once it has all necessary information, after
which EDF would require about another two weeks to bring the
reactors back online, she said.
This suggests the seven reactors would be available at the
very end of December at the earliest and may not be online until
An EDF spokesman said its timetable for restarting the
reactors was unchanged.
French power prices for December delivery had
risen 6.7 percent by 0950 GMT, in contrast to a fall in spot
The utility's chief executive said earlier this month that
EDF was doing its best to have more nuclear reactors up and
running but was waiting for the ASN's green light to restart
some of them.
The ongoing reactor outages also led EDF this month to
reduce its nuclear power output forecast for the second time
this year and to trim its 2016 core earnings target.
The ASN had ordered a review of the strength of crucial
steel components after the discovery of manufacturing
France depends on nuclear power for about 75 percent of its
power needs and its nuclear fleet usually allows it to be a net
electricity exporter in Europe.
French grid operator RTE, meanwhile, warned last week it
could be forced to impose some short power blackouts in parts of
the country this winter in response to reactor outages.
Reactors are also routinely closed for maintenance. In all,
as of Tuesday, 18 of EDF's 58 reactors were not producing,
leaving nearly 30 percent of France's nuclear power capacity
offline, data compiled by Reuters shows.
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, writing by Gus Trompiz; Editing
by Andrew Callus and Louise Heavens)