EDF agrees to lower Sizewell nuclear plant output to help balance UK market

FILE PHOTO: Safety helmets with the logo of the Electricite de France (EDF) are seen at the coal-fired power plant in Cordemais, near Nantes, France, March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

LONDON (Reuters) - EDF Energy has agreed to a request to reduce output from its Sizewell B nuclear plant in the east of England to help balance the grid amid low power demand due to COVID-19, the company told Reuters this week.

As energy demand slumped across the world when countries shut industry and asked people to stay at home earlier this year, the National Grid ESO (Electricity System Operator) asked EDF to consider reducing output from its Sizewell B power station in Suffolk.

“EDF is pleased to have responded quickly and positively to National Grid ESO’s request to help stabilise the energy system during this time of very low electricity demand,” an EDF Energy presswoman said.

“EDF has agreed with the Grid to halve output from the Sizewell B power station in Suffolk until Sept. 24, a deal which helps minimise the cost to consumers of ensuring system stability.”

Nuclear outage data on EDF’s website showed that the Sizewell B-1 reactor which has been on outage since July 8 will restart on Aug. 9, while the Sizewell B-2 reactor will be switched off from Aug. 9 to Sept. 24.

Britain’s fleet of nuclear reactors, operated by EDF Energy, the British arm of France’s EDF, typically provide about 20% of its electricity.

The Sizewell B plant is the youngest plant and uses different technology to the rest of them, meaning it is able to reduce capacity more easily.

Reporting by Ekaterina Kravtsova; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise