EDF’s nuclear production will be complicated until 2024 … at least

EDF’s nuclear production will be complicated until 2024 … at least

EDF’s nuclear production will be complicated until 2024 … at least

The very tense situation that the electrical system is about to experience this winter is not a short-term problem. It is a lasting problem that will persist over time. This is confirmed by the data published on Tuesday 13 September by EDF: in 2024 nuclear production will be between 315 and 345 TWh, the electrician estimates. “This is the level of a Covid year, points out Nicolas Goldberg, energy expert at Colombus Consulting. In 2020, a year marked by a rigorous two-month confinement, the production of French nuclear electricity had in fact collapsed to 335.4 TWh, down 11.6% (44 TWh) compared to 2019.. Its lowest level since 1993then underlined RTE, the manager of the electricity transmission network.

In 2024, electricity production should therefore be slightly higher than that forecast for 2023, currently estimated between 300 and 330 TWh, in turn slightly higher than that of 2022, which should be only 285 TWh, a “real disaster, according to Nicholas Goldberg.

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We knew from 2015 that the situation was going to be tense

These figures show that the electricity crisis will last until at least 2024, and it is worrying, says the expert. Of the 2015, we knew the situation was going to be tense at the nuclear power plant right now due to the decade-long inspections [arrêt de plusieurs mois de la production d’un réacteur, qui a lieu tous les dix ans, et pendant lequel un examen de sûreté est réalisé en profondeur. Les quatrièmes visites décennales (VD4), qui concernent en ce moment les plus vieux réacteurs du parc, ceux de 900 MW, comptent 20.000 activités de maintenance et de contrôles et visent à faire tendre le niveau de sûreté de ces réacteurs vers celui des EPR, ndlr], but we had no idea of ​​the depth of this crisisadmits.

Regarding the production estimate for 2024, EDF specifies “that the related maintenance program is being consolidated. For the moment, we do not yet know the extent of the various factors that will affect the availability of the nuclear fleet in 2024. What will be the proportion of maintenance operations and ten-year inspections and that of corrosion problems?asks Nicolas Goldberg.

Seven ten-year inspections scheduled for 2024

The estimate of nuclear production 2024 is explained by a busy industrial program and the continuous implementation of the nuclear reactor control program in the context of the stress corrosion phenomenon.indicates, for its part, EDF, without giving further details.

At the end of 2021 the electrician discovered a stress corrosion problem, in series, which causes micro-cracks on the steel pipes, connected to the main primary circuit that surrounds the reactor. According to the investigations carried out by EDF, 12 reactors are affected or potentially affected by this phenomenon and are therefore currently closed. (While 17 others are currently closed for maintenance). If this phenomenon continues until 2024, maintenance stops could therefore be longer to carry out further checks.

In addition, seven ten-year outages are planned in 2024: two for the 1300 MW reactors of Penly 2 and Golfech 2, and five fourth ten-year outages for the 900 MW reactors of Blayais 3, Cruas 3, Dampierre 4, Gravelines 4, Tricastin 4. .

In 2024, therefore, we will still be in a tense situation [sur le plan de la sécurité d’approvisionnement électrique, ndlr]. It will be necessary to apply eco-gestures, but also principles of sobriety with the establishment of the right tariff signals and apply them over time because it is a lasting problem., insists Nicolas Goldberg.

Production down from 2018

However, some elements could lighten the French electricity system. As for production, the Saint-Nazaire offshore wind farm, consisting of 80 turbines, will be fully operational, with 100% commissioning scheduled for the end of 2022. It is also hoped that the Energy Acceleration Act renewables, which will soon be presented to the Council of Ministers, has produced its first effects.

France should therefore be able to import more electricity thanks to the construction of a new interconnection between France and Italy through the Fréjus tunnel. This is expected to be fully operational in the coming months. On the other hand, the results related to the energy efficiency works will probably not be there yet.

Since 2018, French nuclear production has continued to decline. Only the year 2021 was characterized by a fragile recovery. The French nuclear fleet thus produced 393.2 TWh in 2018, 379.5 TWh in 2019, 335.4 TWh in 2020 and 360.7 TWh in 2021. It is necessary to go back to 2015 to obtain a volume greater than 400 TWh, the level considered. how normal by all industry experts. And for good reason, from 2002 to 2015, the production of electricity from the atom was always above 400 TWh, except in 2009.