Heatwave forces EDF to cut output at Bugey 3 and St Alban 1 nuclear reactors

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Electricite de France SA (EDF) is pictured at the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE), the trade fair event for the global nuclear community in Villepinte near Paris, France, June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF on Friday halted production at its 900 megawatt (MW) Bugey 3 nuclear reactor and reported an unplanned outage at the 1,300 MW St Alban 1 reactor, because of the heatwave in the country.

EDF, which operates the 58 nuclear reactors that account for more than 75 percent of France’s electricity needs, discharges water it uses as coolants for the reactors into surrounding rivers and canals.

The amount of water it discharges is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life, forcing it to cut output during prolonged hot weather when river temperatures rise.

EDF warned on Tuesday that extreme temperatures forecast this week could limit electricity production from its nuclear reactors at the Bugey and Saint-Alban nuclear plants from Saturday July 28.

France and much of western Europe have experienced scorching weather this week, with temperature reaching 40 degrees Celsius in some towns.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by David Goodman