Nuclear: shutting down reactors before 2026 poses a risk of blackout

Since 2020 with the closure of Fessenheim, and as part of its objective of reducing the share of nuclear power in French electricity production, a share which should ultimately fall to 50%, the government has embarked on a vast plan to shut down nuclear reactors. But RTE is worried: if this plan is implemented too quickly, France could end up with insufficient electricity production.

RTE is concerned about the closure of two reactors before 2026

The report of the manager of the French electricity network, RTE, published on March 24, 2021, reveals a tense situation for French electricity production in the next few years. And the manager is worried about the government’s desire to close, in 2025-2026, two new reactors after the closure of Fessenheim in 2020. The government aims to close nearly 14 nuclear reactors in France by 2035.

However, explains RTE, it is simple: if the government pursues its closure plan as planned, the situation could be critical. Without the two reactors in question, the security of the electricity supply in the country, especially during winter consumption peaks, could be seriously compromised. Understand: France risks a blackout because it will not have produced enough electricity in relation to its consumption.

And there is no question of counting on the neighbors: consumption peaks linked to weather episodes, such as a sharp drop in temperatures, are generally shared by other European countries, subject to the same climate. France will not be able to buy the energy it lacks.

Blame it on the work planned on the nuclear fleet … and the delays at Flamanville

Please note: RTE is not saying that France does not have enough nuclear power to produce enough. In fact, this risk that the manager puts forward is linked to a combination of circumstances… and is above all a warning.

RTE emphasizes that nearly half of the reactors in service on the territory (21 out of 56) will have to be shut down for the ten-yearly inspection visits before 2025. A mandatory visit which can however present unpleasant surprises and extend the planned downtime by several months.

And if the government hopes that the Flamanville EPR will finally come into service to compensate for the shutdown of the other reactors, RTE does not really count on it: ” the uncertainties about the Flamanville EPR concern both the service start-up schedule and its level of availability during the first years Can we read on the report. It must be said that the new plant is already 9 years late: it should be completed by 2012. RTE, pessimistic, does not expect it to be fully operational before 2025, where EDF expects 2023.

The accumulation of unfavorable configurations cannot be excluded, and it would lead to a capacity deficit “By 2025, judges, in its report, RTE which considers that it is necessary to think about delaying the deprogramming of the early shutdowns of nuclear reactors.