Reactor corrosion further undermines EDF’s outlook

Bugey Nuclear Power Plant in San Vulva, Anne, January 25, 2022
Bugey Nuclear Power Plant (JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP / Archives) in San Vulva, Anne, January 25, 2022

The EDF results will eventually be even worse than expected this year due to the corrosion problem of the nuclear fleet, which will force the shutdown of 12 reactors and severely limit production this year.

Electricity producers are now in EBITDA (total operating surplus) of 18.5 billion instead of the € 16 billion announced in March (revised to € 14 billion in May) due to the planned reduction in nuclear production in 2022. We estimate that it will cost euros. Thursday’s statement.

By comparison, EDF’s EBITDA in 2021 was € 18 billion.

The group also shows that “the 2022 nuclear production forecast will be adjusted to 280-300 TWh from the previous 295-315 TWh.”

“EDF is continuing its inspection program and is preparing with the nuclear industry to repair parts of piping affected by stress corrosion,” explains the group.

At a press conference, Legis Clement, Deputy Director of Nuclear Production, said:

To date, 12 of the 56 reactors have actually been shut down due to proven or suspected “stress corrosion” (SCC) phenomena.

According to the manager, EDF counts “four expert confirmed CSCs”. Three of them (Civaux 1, Chooz 1, Penly 1) have corrosion on both safety injection systems (RIS). In the event of an accident, it will be cooled and the cooling circuit (RRA) will be shut down. The Sinon B3 reactor has a weld fault, but only the RRA circuit.

“Today’s design is what makes us seem to dominate,” underlined Régis Clément, which seems to be emphasized by welding.

This design was already mentioned on Tuesday by Bernard Doroszczuk, President of the Nuclear Safety Agency (ASN). According to him, the reason why the oldest and most numerous reactors at 900 MW can explain why they are “almost or not involved” in the corrosion phenomenon.

“At this stage in 2022, EDF does not believe it is necessary to predict the shutdown of new reactors,” the group plans to “intermediate shutdown” of four reactors from the second quarter of 2023. It shows that it is.

“Our reactor is safe and is in operation today,” Régis Clément assured.

“Political game”

“When you want to kill a dog, you say he has rabies,” sees the EDF’s reorganization, “Political Game Justifying Hercules,” in these number publications. Fabris Kudur, Federal Secretary of FNME-CGT, responded. Group executives and management want to return to the table after giving up temporarily last year.

Emmanuel Macron did mention EDF nationalization as part of “wider reforms” during the presidential elections.

“We are increasing the likelihood of nationalization, which has increased from the previous 50% to 75%,” said an Oddo BHF analyst in a memo. “This hypothesis could become a government priority after the deadline for next month’s legislative elections, given the fragile outlook for EDF,” they write.

This group has already benefited greatly and faces a series of challenges. Construction of a new EPR announced by President Emmanuel Macron, expansion of nuclear reactors, growth of renewable energy …

The group had already warned about the impact of the increase by Allen’s mechanism (regulating access to electricity from historic nuclear power) on its consequences. This mechanism requires EDF to sell electricity at a lower price, which is far more valuable in the market and the state is increasing the amount to curb the increase in billing.

Deterioration of the fiscal outlook justified the “suspension” of the device, EDF CFE-Unsa Energy Secretary of State Amélie Henri estimated.

Photo taken at Belleville-sur-Loire on March 27, 2007
Photo taken at Belleville-sur-Loire on March 27, 2007 (ALAIN JOCARD / AFP / Archives)

Faced with this difficult situation, the Group’s CEO announced last Thursday a “graceful appeal” to the government’s decision, while the state is the largest shareholder.