With nearly 45 GW available, nuclear power is back on track

While France entered the winter of 2022-2023 with the fear of running out of electricity, the risk of a blackout is receding. The availability of the nuclear fleet has risen considerably in recent weeks, with the commissioning of reactors shut down due to stress corrosion.

On Monday, January 9, the nuclear fleet reached 44.5 GW of power available out of the 61.3 GW installed on the territory. “We are on schedule,” said an EDF official. The electricity company had promised the availability of 45 GW on this date, a difference of 500 MW due to power adjustments. This is a good recovery from the low point of 30 GW reached last October.

Only 13 reactors are now shut down. In recent days, due to the mild temperatures, unit 4 at Tricastin had even been shut down to save fuel. This performance of the nuclear fleet exceeds the 40 GW of nuclear availability forecast by RTE, taking into account accidental shutdowns, “but the connected units are doing very well,” says the national electricity company with satisfaction.

Return of Civaux 1

The park should rise a little higher early next week with the return to service of Civaux 1. This means that 1,450 MW will be ready for use after four days of ramp-up. This is symbolic since it was on this N4 reactor that the first case of stress corrosion was identified in late 2021.

Thanks to the warmer weather, the return of nuclear power, and favorable conditions for wind power, France has once again become a net exporter of electricity to Europe, with around 10 GW sent beyond our borders throughout the day (Monday, January 9), which is almost the maximum possible (exported in grey on the graph above). A situation that had not occurred for several months. ■

By Ludovic Dupin (Sfen)

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