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France to intensify monitoring of EDF nuclear fleet - source

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: A flag with the EDF logo flies next to the EDF power plant in Bouchain

By Benjamin Mallet and Caroline Pailliez

PARIS (Reuters) - France will intensify monitoring of nuclear power group EDF's fleet of reactors to ensure that the country will have sufficient electricity production for next winter, an official at the energy ministry told Reuters on Wednesday.

Half of EDF's 56 domestic reactors are currently offline due to planned maintenance and work to fix corrosion issues. That has forced the group to repeatedly cut its output forecasts for the year, deepening concerns about the coming winter amid a European energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine.

The French government - which is in the process of taking full control of EDF - earlier this week agreed with the utility to establish monthly "monitoring updates" regarding the progress on maintenance works and the availability of reactors, the official said.

The aim would be to give market operators more transparent, accessible information on the state of the reactors, he added.

"We are currently working on putting the fleet under supervision (...) and ensure that gradually we return to availability levels in line with best international practices," he said.

The official said that the government wanted to make sure that France will "have enough [reactors] available to make it through winter" and also hoped the reinforced monitoring would help lower electricity prices in the country, which have risen to record levels due to concerns about a power shortage.

Earlier this month, the government - which already owns 84% of EDF - said it would take full control of the company in a buyout deal worth 9.7 billion euros ($9.83 billion) to help it fund investments to repair its existing reactors and build new ones.

($1 = 0.9865 euros)

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Caroline Pailliez; writing by Layli Foroudi; editing by Silvia Aloisi)

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