The French state energy monopoly Electricite de France (EdF) on December 19 announced the extension of the maintenance of two nuclear power units at operating nuclear power plants for four months and two more units for one month. The commissioning of the only new power unit of the Flamanville nuclear power plant under construction in France has also been shifted from 2023 to 2024. This means an increase in the load on the power system of France and neighboring EU countries this winter, as well as the continued dependence of Paris on gas in the face of high prices.
The aging of the fleet of nuclear power units in France, the increase in the timing of their scheduled repairs and the delay in the construction of the only new unit of the Flamanville nuclear power plant in Normandy are well-known problems, notes Alexander Uvarov, editor-in-chief of Atominfo. French NPPs in the 1970s–1980s were built in series, but now they also need to be repaired and modernized massively. If problems with welds are found on one power unit, then all units in the series have to be checked and repaired, Uvarov says. According to him, the French nuclear scientists, apparently, faced serious problems that required the replacement of a number of units.