Oil report

Fessenheim shutdown won't impact French power supply for now - grid operator

PARIS, Feb 18 (Reuters) - The shutdown of two reactors at France’s 1,800 megawatt (MW) Fessenheim nuclear plant this year will not impact French electricity supply in the near term but strains could emerge after 2022, grid operator RTE said on Tuesday.

EDF plans to halt generation at Fessenheim’s 900 MW number 1 reactor on Saturday, while the similar capacity Fessenheim 2 will halt on June 30 - the first two to be shut in France under a policy to reduce the share of atomic power in the country’s energy mix.

France’s 58 nuclear reactors operated by EDF supply around 75% of the country’s electricity needs, a total planned to drop to 50% by 2035 as the share of renewables increases.

RTE said in a statement that the shutdown of the Fessenheim reactors would not immediately impact French security of supply, despite a delay in the start up of the Flamanville 3 EPR reactor under construction in the north of France.

“This closure is offset by the planned commissioning of the Landivisiau gas-fired plant, the development of renewable energies, and the building of two high-voltage power cables with Britain and Italy,” RTE said.

However it added that as from 2022, the planned closure of France’s remaining coal plants, and in the absence of the commissioning of Flamanville 3, France’s security of supply could be strained and will be under surveillance. (Reporting by Bate Felix Editing by David Holmes)