(Adds quotes, details and background)
By Bate Felix
PARIS Oct 13 The chief executive of French
utility EDF said he hoped more offline nuclear reactors
could return to production before the end of the year, following
reports that France could face tight supplies this winter.
"We are working to make sure reactors that are on outage
resume production," Jean-Bernard Levy told reporters on
"We are still carrying out demonstrations with ASN and we
hope that some of these reactors will resume production by the
end of the year," he said.
French nuclear safety watchdog ASN has asked EDF to test 12
reactors which could contain zones with high carbon
concentration in their steam generator channel heads, which it
said could weaken their resilience.
Power prices have spiked sharply higher in recent weeks on
fears of supply shortages.
Currently, 20 out of 58 French nuclear reactors are shut
down for planned or statutory maintenance for various time
periods ranging from a couple of days to several weeks, while a
couple more are at reduced capacity.
As a result, about 34 percent of French nuclear capacity is
"It is true that we have more reactors that are offline than
what we are used to during this time of the year," Levy said.
"It is our duty to continue to provide French homes with all
the electricity they need."
He said France, a net exporter of electricity on an
annualised basis, has increased imports in recent days as demand
rose amid cold weather.
(Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by
Geert De Clercq and Susan Fenton)