As expected, France was heavily dependent on power imports during the first cold spell of this winter. Yet, most of the country’s reactors are back online. The US is now also investigating 17 reactors with parts from France that could also be defective. Craig Morris has the details. In the fall of 2016, 20 of France’s 58 reactors were offline, largely for inspections. As of mid-January, most of these reactors were back online, however. The fleet’s total generation capacity is 63 GW, and RTE’s website shows an ouput level approaching 55 GW, which is near the maximum (power plants generally do not run far above 90% so they can still provide grid services, such as reactive power). EDF’s list of production by plant on January 11 seems to show that 7 reactors are still offline, which is not an especially high number (only 15 percent of the fleet). The risk is that France gets a lot of its space heat from electric units, so a cold spell poses a challenge, as we saw in 2012, when Germany helped prevent a blackout in France.
Renew Economy 23rd Jan 2017 read more »