32 out of 56 French Nuclear Reactors have been shut down for months because of either stress corrosion or routine maintenance. The stress corrosion problem was because of sloppy maintenance.
The French government will step in and absorb some of the sky high cost of electricity. This will partially shield consumers from the excess cost of energy.
The wholesale price in 2022 was 85 euros per megawatt hour (8.5 cents per kilowatt hour wholesale). The price is 1000 euros per megawatt hour ($1 per kilowatt hour).
Over the last decade France has exported up to 70 TWh net each year. In the first half of 2021 France was Europe’s biggest electricity exporter, principally to the UK and Italy.
France getting 70% of its electricity from nuclear is a result of the French government deciding in 1974, just after the first oil shock, to rapidly expand the country’s nuclear power capacity, using Westinghouse technology. France has good engineering but not many natural energy resources.
France now claims a substantial level of energy independence and an extremely low level of carbon dioxide emissions per capita from electricity generation, since over 80% of its electricity is from nuclear or hydro.
Nuclear outages in 2022
In May 2022 EDF reduced the estimated nuclear output from France’s reactor fleet for 2022 to 280-300 TWh, well below the ten-year average of 395 TWh. It estimates output for 2023 will be 300-330 TWh. As of the end of August 2022, 32 units were offline. Fourteen of those were either undergoing repair or investigation of corrosion problems that were first detected at Civaux 1 in December 2021 and 18 were offline for routine maintenance. Many planned outages were delayed or reduced in scope in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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