* From mid-January only 4 out of 58 reactors will be offline
* EDF set to get through winter without power shortages
* Power prices fall back sharply as supply worries ease
(Adds detail on outages)
By Geert De Clercq and Bate Felix
PARIS, Dec 12 French state-controlled utility
EDF confirmed on Monday that seven nuclear reactors
shut down for safety checks would be up and running again by the
end of December and there would be no problem with power
supplies this winter.
The company said its reactors were safe and also confirmed
revised 2016 targets for nuclear production of 378-385 terawatt
hours, as well as for its core earnings.
Grid operator RTE said in a report on Saturday that three of
the seven reactors offline - Gravelines 2, Dampierre 3 and
Tricastin 3 - would resume production from Dec. 20 and that four
more would restart before Dec. 31. EDF confirmed the report.
The seven reactors are among 12 that have been slated for
inspections under orders from the nuclear regulator ASN
following the discovery of high carbon concentrations, which
could weaken their steel.
Another four of the 12 earmarked for checks - Fessenheim 1,
Gravelines 4, Civaux 1 and Tricastin 2 - will go offline this
month and resume production before Jan. 15, EDF officials said.
"For the January and February months we will be in a
configuration that is similar to previous years and there is no
reason to think we will not have the power required to meet
customers' needs," Dominique Miniere, head of EDF's French
nuclear network, told reporters on a call.
He said EDF aimed to have available nuclear power output at
more than 90 percent of total capacity then.
From mid-January, EDF will only have four of its 58 reactors
offline, for reasons not related to the ASN investigation. These
plants are Bugey 5, Paluel 2, Fessenheim 2 and Gravelines 5.
The longest outage will be at Paluel 2, where a 465 tonne
steam generator was dropped onto the reactor floor during
maintenance in April. It is due to restart at the end of
November next year.
Miniere said the nuclear industry worked within wide safety
margins and despite the ASN investigation there was still a wide
margin left. "Our reactors are safe," he said.
French power prices have fallen sharply in recent days as
worries about the security of electricity supplies over winter
Between early September and mid-November, year-ahead French
power futures jumped from about 32 euros to nearly 50 euros as
markets worried that the reactor outages could lead to power
They have fallen back to about 36 euros since the start of
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq and Bate Felix; editing by David
Evans and David Clarke)