France’s heavy reliance on nuclear baseload energy is leaving it short of power, and the country faces blackouts and soaring power prices this winter. French grid operator RTE last week warned consumers about rolling blackouts in winter and energy analysts predicted soaring power prices after more than one-third of the country’s nuclear plants had to be shut down because of safety concerns over its reactor vessels. France’s heavy reliance on nuclear – it supplies around three-quarters of its electricity – leaves it terribly exposed when something goes wrong, such a generic design fault. The French regulator has ordered the closure of up to 24 ageing nuclear power plants so that a crucial steel component could be reviewed after investigations into the disastrous delays and cost overruns at its next generation plant at Flamanville revealed major faults, which have been repeated in at least 18 other generators. France used the standardisation to build its reactor fleet quickly and cheaply, but environmental groups have been warning for years that the discovery of such a generic fault could incapacitate a large part of the fleet.
Renew Economy 15th Nov 2016 read more »