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France extends nuclear reactors outage after earthquake

The Cruas nuclear plant in the department of Ardèche in southeastern France.
The Cruas nuclear plant in the department of Ardèche in southeastern France. Archives, AFP

French utility EDF on Tuesday extended outages at three nuclear reactors at its Cruas plant until Nov. 15 following a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in southeast France that forced it to temporarily suspend electricity generation at the site.

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A sensor at the plant was activated during the earthquake in the region on Monday, requiring the state-controlled utility to carry out further checks for potential damage.

A spokesman for EDF said the outage extension would allow enough time for thorough visual and advanced checks across the plant, including in the nuclear buildings to ascertain that the units could function properly when they restarted.

France’s ASN nuclear safety agency on Monday said it was monitoring the situation and would decide when the reactors could restart.

The outage at the three reactors reduced French power generation by 2,700 megawatts (MW).

European wholesale power prices for day-ahead delivery surged to their highest level in 9-1/2 months on Tuesday on tight supply concerns following EDF’s decision to halt the reactors.

France’s day-ahead spot power price soared 24.3% in early trade to 60 euros ($66) a megawatt hour (MWh), due to the reactor outage.

A spokeswoman for French electricity grid operator RTE, said France had enough generation capacity to cover demand on Tuesday despite the sudden outage.

(Reuters)

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