EdF lowers nuclear output targets because of shutdowns

OREANDA-NEWS. September 23, 2016. French state-controlled utility EdF has lowered its target for nuclear production and now expects to produce 6.9-16.9TWh less on the year than it did between 22 September and 31 December last year.

EdF has lowered its expected nuclear output for 2016 by 10-15TWh, to 380-390TWh from 395-400TWh. The company had already lowered its expected nuclear production in July, from 408-412TWh to 395-400TWh.

EdF extended maintenance periods at a number of nuclear reactors after it suspected steam generators at 18 units of having a similar anomaly as that found in the third-generation European pressurised reactor (EPR) Flamanville 3, which is currently under construction.

The lower target means EdF plans to produce between 101.8TWh and 111.8TWh of nuclear power by the end of the year, compared with 118.7TWh produced between 22 September and 31 December 2015.

EdF narrowed the range for its expected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) in 2016, to €16.3bn-16.6bn from €16.3bn-16.8bn. This is because of lower nuclear production and an expected revision of regulated household electricity prices.

Lower nuclear output so far in 2016

French nuclear output so far this year was already below levels up until 21 September 2015, with 278.2TWh produced since the start of 2016 compared with 296.6TWh over the same period in 2015. Nuclear's share of overall power production also fell, to 74.7pc so far this year, from 77.6pc between 1 January and 21 September 2015.

An increase in gas-fired power generation partially offset lower nuclear output and could continue to do so by the end of 2016 and in 2017, particularly if cold temperatures in the winter months lead to an increase in heating demand. EdF said it expects nuclear output to be in a 390-400TWh range in 2017, which would be between 15.3TWh and 25.3TWh below nuclear production in 2015. This suggests the French utility only expects a slight improvement in nuclear availability in 2017 from 2016.

Gas-fired power production has already risen by nearly 6.7TWh so far in 2016, to 20.2TWh from 13.5TWh at the same time last year, taking the gas share of power production up to 5.4pc from 3.5pc in 2015. More gas-fired power plants could ramp up to meet demand in the winter months.

Sharp rise in French spark spreads

Prospects of lower nuclear availability in the winter months have provided support to base-load October, 4Q 2016 and 1Q 2017 French power prices, which led to a sharp increase in clean spark spreads for the three contracts.

French October clean spark spreads for plants with 55pc efficiency — calculated on the basis of Peg Nord gas prices — average at €10.69/MWh so far this year, compared with an average of €2.73/MWh at contract delivery in 2015.

The average of 4Q 2016 spark spreads currently stand at €6.24/MWh, up from €3.79/MWh at contract delivery in 2015, while sparks average at €9.11/MWh for 1Q 2017 so far, up from €6.24/MWh recorded as the average last year.


UnitCapacity (MW)Cresot Forge irregularitiesSuspected steam generator (EPR-type) anomalyMaintenance startMaintenance end
Belleville 21,31016 Jul 1604 Oct 16
Blayais 1910XX18 Sep 1624 Sep 16
Blayais 291018 Feb 1721 Apr 17
Blayais 3910X
Blayais 491020 Aug 1626 Sep 16
Bugey 2910X
Bugey 3910X
Bugey 4910XX27 Aug 1615 Nov 16
Bugey 588027 Aug 1531 Mar 17
Cattenom 11,300X28 May 1611 Oct 16
Cattenom 21,30018 Feb 1727 May 17
Cattenom 31,30024 Sep 1620 Dec 16
Chinon 1905XX27 Aug 1603 Oct 16
Chinon 2905X19 Mar 1623 Sep 16
Chinon 3905X08 Oct 1607 Nov 16
Civaux 11,495XX
Civaux 2 1,495XX10 Sep 1608 Nov 16
Cruas 391530 Jul 1606 Oct 16
Dampierre 1890
Dampierre 2890XX
Dampierre 3890XX24 Sep 1623 Oct 16
Dampierre 4890XX
Fessenheim 1 880XX
Fessenheim 2880X13 Jun 1631 Mar 17
Flamanville 11,33017 Sep 1620 Oct 16
Golfech 21,31011 Mar 1716 Apr 17
Gravelines 2910XX17 Sep 1617 Oct 16
Gravelines 3 910
Gravelines 4910XX
Gravelines 591009 Apr 1631 Mar 17
Nogent 21,31004 Mar 1710 Apr 17
Paluel 11,330X09 Apr 1604 Oct 16
Paluel 21,33016 May 1531 Aug 17
St Alban 21,33519 Sep 1624 Sep 16
St Laurent 1 915XX
St Laurent 2915X03 Sep 1605 Nov 16
Tricastin 1915XX13 Aug 1623 Dec 16
Tricastin 2915XX
Tricastin 3915X07 May 1623 Dec 16
Tricastin 4915X22 Oct 1619 Dec 16

French clean spark spreads (55pc eff.) €/MWh