Paris, Aug 17 (EFE).- Two nuclear plants along the Rhone River in eastern France may have to reduce power generation beginning this weekend due to a persisting heatwave in the region, an official said on Thursday.
The high temperatures have increased the river water temperature above the thresholds for use in cooling.
A nuclear operator EDF spokesperson told EFE that the curtailment plan would apply to the Bugey and Tricastin plants, which have four 900-megawatt reactors each.
The spokesperson said they published a notice, insisting that the operator did not know how long the situation would persist and how much power generation would be cut.
She said it would depend on the weather conditions and the electricity supply needs.
When temperatures rise to 26-29 degrees, the atomic power plants have to limit the use of water from the Rhône to cool their circuits.
However, if there are supply issues, the French nuclear watchdog ASN can authorize an exemption to keep the supply running at full speed.
Last year, atomic power generation was partly stopped in France due to corrosion in some of its reactors, and the country had to import electricity from neighboring Spain and Germany.
The spokesperson stressed the circumstances were different this time, as more reactors are operating and other sources of generation (such as hydroelectric plants) are in a better situation than in 2022.
Around 70 percent of the electricity in France comes from its 56 nuclear reactors that EDF operates at 18 plants.
In the coming days, especially from the beginning of next week, the heat wave affecting the southeast of France will cause shoot temperatures close to 40 degrees in regions along the Rhône Valley.
The nuclear operator earlier reduced the power of some of its reactors this summer because of the heat.
The operator pointed out that such incidents cause a small impact on its entire production, around 0.3 percent per year. EFE