The operator of the electricity transmission network in France, however, considers “very low” to “moderate” the risk for the security of electricity supply in the coming weeks.
A “extension of the social movement“in nuclear power plants”would have serious consequences“on the supply of electricity to the”heart of winter“, estimated Tuesday the manager of the electricity transmission network in France RTE in a press release.
In the shorter term, RTE estimates “very weak” at “moderate» the risk for the security of electricity supply in the coming weeks, according to the press release from the manager who presented his forecasts for the period from mid-October to mid-November. Among the reasons put forward for this low risk, RTE considers that the occurrence of early or severe cold episodes is “very unlikelyby the end of October, but also that “filling gas stocks in France and Europe“has now reached”very high levels“. In detail, RTE anticipates a “very weak“risk for the security of supply for the next two weeks and a risk”moderatefor early November pointing out that the main uncertainty lies in the availability of reactors currently affected by social movements.
The restart of five reactors postponed
Indeed, the strike for wages which has affected the nuclear fleet for several weeks can “have an impact on the schedule for the return to production of certain reactors“, according to EDF. The electrician has already postponed the restart of five reactors. Whether “the availability of the nuclear fleet is, as of October 17, exactly in line with RTE’s forecast of the beginning of September (…) it should deviate from it downwards from the end of October and until mid-November in less“, considers today RTE.
The repair work on the portions of piping and controls for the stress corrosion defect are proceeding correctly according to an evolution “favorable“. But, social movements have led “outage extensions generally of two to three weeks on the reactorsto address these issues ordelays in reactor maintenance“. Consequence for RTE: “this will lead to lower availability than RTE’s central scenario during the first part of November at a minimum“.
Another significant fact pointed out by the network manager is that structural electricity consumption (corrected for weather conditions) is now clearly on a downward trend. In question, the effect of rising energy prices. This decline particularly affects the industrial sector and should continue with the sobriety plan. “This downward trend“, consumption “to be confirmed in the coming weeks», warns RTE.
On September 14, by unveiling its winter scenarios, RTE had placed the security of electricity supply under increased vigilance and this, from the autumn, an exceptional event. In a context of global energy crisis, with the approach of winter, France is indeed weakened by nuclear electricity production at its lowest level due to maintenance work and corrosion problems.
However, the network manager is still reassuring: “In the vast majority of situations, RTE only considers a few red EcoWatt signals over the six months of winter“. In the event of periods of tension, the risk of outages could be avoided by reducing consumption by 1 to 5% in the central scenario and by a maximum of 15% in the most extreme scenario. Finally RTE ensures that “under no circumstances does France run the risk of a “blackout”, i.e. a total loss of control of the electricity system“.
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