Weather forecast services predict soaring temperatures of up to 40°C across France on Thursday. Red weather alerts have been issued for the eastern and southern regions of the country, prompting concerns about the impact of the heatwave.
EDF’s Bugey and Saint Alban nuclear power plants, located in southeastern France, are expected to be affected by the possible production restrictions.
At the Saint Alban site, production restrictions are likely to come into effect from 16th July.
However, due to network constraints, the site will be required to maintain a minimum power output of 1,300MW.
Similarly, the Bugey plant may have to shut down one or two operational units due to the restrictions, with a minimum power production requirement of 1,800MW.
A spokesperson from EDF has told Energy Live News that there are no safety risks associated with the output reductions.
The company stated that the adjustments are necessary to comply with thermal discharge regulations, which consider factors such as water temperatures and flow rates of nearby watercourses.
By optimising production, while adhering to regulatory limits, nuclear reactors can operate safely even during heatwaves.
Thermal discharge limits for each power plant are determined individually and authorized by the French Nuclear Safety Authority.
These limits encompass the temperatures of water downstream of power stations and the temperature difference between upstream and downstream areas.
It is estimated that since 2000, such weather-related production losses have averaged around 0.3% of EDF’s annual production.