EDF nuclear generation rises in France but falls in the UK

Nuclear power generation at EDF’s French reactors in June rose by over 12% year on year to more than 22 terawatt hours (TWh), the utility said.

EDF’s said that total nuclear generation in France since the start of the year was 158.1 TWh, up 2.6% from the same period last year due to the strategic postponement of unit outages.

The French utility’s June nuclear power output in the UK was down 19% year on year at 3.3 TWh. Total generation in the UK since the start of the year was at 18.2 TWh, down 21.5% from the same period last year.

The differing figures here come at a pivotal moment for both countries with regard to emerging nuclear risks.: France and the UK recently signed new agreements which will see the two countries co-operate more closely on both nuclear energy and the renewables sector.

The move is part of a broader push by European states to ensure that they will not be held ransom to over-dependence on Russian gas imports in the future.

A nuclear-specific agreement signed in March establishes a working group on nuclear innovation and safety, with both countries building nuclear plants, both full-sized and small modular reactors, with reducing reliance on Russia for civil nuclear goods also mentioned as a priority.

Both countries will also cooperate on clean-energy technology, such as hydrogen and carbon capture.

“We have a common ambition, and that is to exit fossil fuels,” French President Macron said at the time.

The agreements came in the same week that France’s nuclear safety watchdog ASN ordered energy utility EDF to inspect pipe weldings across its aging 56-nuclear reactor fleet after discovering three additional cracks this week, the regulator said.

EDF is currently building a new nuclear plant in Britain, Sizewell C. A second plant, Hinkley Point C, is also mooted.