EDF misses 2019 French nuclear power target

FILE PHOTO: A power generation turbine at the Tricastin nuclear power plant in Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux, France, June 27, 2019. REUTERS/Benjamin Mallet

PARIS (Reuters) - EDF’s French nuclear power generation fell by a more than expected 3.5 percent last year, the state-owned utility said on Friday.

The French company’s domestic nuclear output power dropped to 379.5 terawatt hours (TWh), missing a revised production target of between 384 TWh and 388 TWh.

EDF attributed the drop to a high volume of reactor outages, with nuclear power output tumbling in the final month of 2019 by 15.2% to 33 TWh.

The operator of France’s 58 nuclear reactors, covering about 75% of the country’s electricity needs, had revised its 2019 nuclear production target from 390 TWh to between 384 TWh and 388 TWh in November because of reactor maintenance and safety checks after an earthquake.

The dip took French nuclear generation to its lowest since 2017, when output stood at 379 TWh. When all its French reactors are up an running EDF can produce up to 420 TWh a year.

In Britain, the company’s nuclear power generation for 2019 fell 13.7% year on year to 51 TWh, with December output slipping by 2.1% to 4.7 TWh, but did not give any reason for the decline.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by David Goodman