Oil report

Restarts at several French nuclear power reactors delayed

PARIS, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Several of EDF’s nuclear power reactors in France have had their restart pushed back to at least mid-November in an adjustment of outage schedules, further delaying 5.2 gigawatts (GW) of supply at a time of historically low availability.

Issues with corrosion on the piping of several reactors, along with a delayed maintenance schedule, has reduced the French nuclear fleet to 30-year lows in 2022 as the rest of Europe scrambles to find new sources of natural gas supplies amid disputes with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.

France is historically an exporter of power throughout Europe but has had to lean on its neighbours and import electricity recently, which is stressing the gas supplies in other countries that are trying to fill their storage ahead of the winter.

European power prices have surged to records because of the nuclear shortage as well as several other factors over the past several months.

The 1.3 GW Penly 1 reactor in northwestern France is expected offline on Oct. 2 and will now remain out until Jan. 23.

Corrosion was discovered last January on the piping of the safety injection circuit and the reactor cooling circuit at Penly 1.

The delay is nearly a month from the previously announced restart date of Dec. 25.

Delays were also announced at several 1.3 GW reactors at the Cattenom site in northeastern France.

The restart of the Cattenom 3 reactor, where indications of corrosion were detected during testing after going offline in March, was delayed two months to Dec. 11 from an initial return date of Oct. 8.

The restart of the Cattenom 1 reactor will be delayed two months to Nov. 1 from Sept. 14 initially, while the Cattenom 4 reactor was pushed back one month to Nov. 14 from Oct. 10.

Both reactors have been identified as potentially susceptible to the corrosion issue. (Reporting by Forrest Crellin and Vera Eckert; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)