EDF confirms reactor corrosion

12 May 2022

Nuclear output in France amounted to 91.7TWh - 7.5TWh less than over the same period in 2021, due to lower availability of the nuclear fleet, mainly in relation to the impact of the detection of indications of stress corrosion, EDF said on 4 May.

Previously, EDF acknowledged detection of a stress corrosion phenomenon on the primary circuit on the five most recent nuclear reactors, and suspicion about nine others. “Corrosion is now confirmed on three reactors, Chooz 1, Civaux 1 and Penly 1”, Régis Clément, deputy director of the nuclear production division of EDF explained on 5 May, during a conference call with financial analysts on the occasion of the publication of EDF's results for the first quarter of 2022. As to the other nine, "We still have to do laboratory tests," said Clément.

The affected reactors are the most recent and the most powerful (1,300-1,500MWe) while tests on the other nine include the 900 MWe reactors which represent the majority of reactors in the fleet. The results are expected later this month after which   the Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) will decide on the strategy to follow.

However, the fleet will be affected in 2022 and 2023 to allow checks. This year, production should be between 295 and 315 TWh - the lowest level for 30 years. For 2023, EDF announced a production estimate of 300-330 TWh. "I fully confirm these objectives with the same reservations that we have already underlined, because we are still in an early phase of the evaluation of our situation in terms of corrosion" noted financial director Xavier Girre, in remarks published on the Montel website.

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