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PARIS, July 30 (Reuters) - French utility EDF on Monday extended outages at its 1,300 megawatts (MW) St. Alban and the 900 MW Bugey 3 nuclear reactors until Aug. 1 due to a prolonged heat wave across France.
Electricity generation was halted at Bugey 3, while output at St. Ablan was cut by half.
EDF had warned last week that extreme weather could force it to limit production from the reactors. It halted power generation at Bugey 3 and reduced output from St. Ablan 1 on Friday.
The utility, which operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors that account for more than 75 percent of France’s electricity needs, discharges water it uses as coolants for the reactors into surrounding rivers and canals.
The amount of water it discharges is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life, forcing it to cut output during prolonged hot weather when river temperatures rise.
Both St. Alban and Bugey nuclear power plants are situated near the Rhone River in the southern half of France where temperatures are expected to reach around 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) in some areas in the Rhone valley area, according the French weather service Meteo France.
Meteo France said the heat wave was expected to continue throughout the week across France. (Reporting by Bate Felix Editing by Phil Berlowitz)