EDF forced to revise downwards its nuclear production estimate for 2022

Another blow for EDF: the group has revised down its nuclear production estimate for the year 2022, due to a longer shutdown than expected of four reactors for corrosion problems, and because of a movement social.

So far, EDF planned to produce between 280 and 300 TWh (terawatt hours) in 2022. Now, the range, which had already been lowered since the start of the year, should instead be between 275 and 285 TWh, according to a press release. of the company published Thursday evening.

Four reactors shut down

The four reactors concerned by an extended shutdown are Cattenom 1 and 3, Penly 2 and Chooz B1. The reopenings of Chooz B1 and Penly 2 have been postponed to January 29, while these reactors were to restart on November 13 and 23 respectively. Cattenom 1 and 3, which were originally scheduled to be relaunched on November 17 and December 11, have seen their recovery postponed to February 26, 2023.

EDF did not comment on the possible financial impact on the group’s results. Last week, the energy giant estimated that the record decline in its electricity production would weigh up to 32 billion euros on its gross operating surplus (Ebitda), an accounting indicator of profitability.

Historically low production

Its electricity production is indeed at a historically low level due to the unavailability of nearly half of the 56 reactors in the nuclear fleet – only 29 are operational -, shut down for scheduled maintenance or corrosion problems. suspected or proven.

To make matters worse, the social movement in the fall in the power stations has led to reductions in nuclear production or postponements of work for certain reactors. In mid-October, management had postponed the restart of five of them in the context of a strike for wages on certain sites, before an agreement was signed two weeks later.

60 billion debt

Over the first nine months of the year, nuclear production in France amounted to 209.2 TWh, i.e. 59 TWh less than for the same period in 2021. The estimates for 2023 and 2024 are maintained, respectively 300-330 TWh and 315-345 TWh, specifies EDF Thursday.

In this context, the arrival of the future CEO Luc Rémont, which should take place in mid-November according to the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire, promises to be eventful. At the end of October, the new leader presented his plan to overcome the “serious crisis” through which the electrician passes.

He described a situation “short-term criticism”evoking a crisis “technical and industrial”. Its No. 1 priority will therefore be to allow the restarting of as many reactors as possible during the winter to avoid cuts when the French turn on their radiators.

Relaunch nuclear

But he will also have the heavy burden of reviving nuclear power, the government wanting to build at least 6 new EPR2 reactors. EDF’s financial situation is also a source of concern since the debt could reach 60 billion euros by the end of the year.

The group, 84% owned by the State and soon to be 100% renationalized, also presented last week a turnover up 78% over 9 months to 101.5 billion euros against 57 billion by compared to the same period in 2021, but this is only the mechanical reflection of the rise in gas and electricity prices on the markets.

Due to the difficulties of alternative energy operators, almost a million customers returned to EDF in one year. But this forced the group to buy back on the markets at high prices electricity that it does not have, while the company had to sell in 2022 more nuclear electricity at low prices to its competitors, through the Arenh mechanism (regulated access to historical nuclear electricity).


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