EDF's electricity production was historically low in 2022 due to the unavailability of many nuclear reactors for maintenance or repair, and the drought which caused a drop in hydroelectric production, according to figures published on Thursday.
The production of the nuclear fleet fell to 279 TWh, down 22.7% compared to 2021 "
due to a lower availability of the nuclear fleet due mainly to the examination and repairs of the circuits affected by stress corrosion
" , said the company majority-owned by the French state.
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EDF's hydraulic production fell in the same proportions to 32.4 TWh (-22.4% compared to 2021) in 2022, the hottest year ever recorded in France which dried up dams.
“It's historically low
,” commented Nicolas Goldberg, energy expert at Colombus Consulting.
This difficult year for EDF was first linked to the unprecedented difficulties of the nuclear fleet, entangled in maintenance operations, which had been delayed during the Covid-19 period and which were prolonged.
The situation was aggravated by the corrosion detected at the end of 2021 on sections of piping crucial for the safety of the power plants, requiring lengthy repairs.
The availability of the French nuclear fleet has thus fallen to just under 35% of the installed capacity in August, according to EDF data analyzed by AFP.
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A social conflict for wage increases in the fall also cost the company the loss of 4 TWh of nuclear production, according to an estimate communicated in early November by EDF.
"EDF lost some production volumes during the fall strikes and due to the modulation"
of nuclear production at the end of the year, due to the weather, said an EDF spokesman.
Up to 10 reactors were shut down before Christmas to save fuel, due to mild temperatures leading to lower consumption, according to the company.
The year 2023 has started again under better auspices.
At the start of January, more than two-thirds of the power installed in the French nuclear fleet is once again available: 44 reactors are operating and only 12 were shut down on Thursday.
"The nuclear fleet is able to provide nearly 45GW of electrical power to the national grid"
"the available power will continue to increase until the end of January
", indicates EDF.
The company, whose debt is expected to exceed 60 billion euros, must publish its annual financial results on February 17.