France’s national embarrassment: half of its nuclear reactors to remain out of action for months


France’s nuclear reactors will not work as normal any time soon. The
trouble will persist well into next year. when edf, the French energy giant,
warned in May that nuclear-electricity production this year would be lower
than previously forecast because half its reactors were out of action, the
timing could not have been worse.

Thanks to its nuclear industry, France is
usually Europe’s biggest net exporter of electricity. The closures turned
the country into a net power importer for the first time, just as the
continent faced an energy crunch. When in September edf then announced that
even by 2024 output would still be well below normal levels, the problem
became a national embarrassment.

France’s current nuclear troubles are
partly due to routine maintenance of the country’s 56 reactors, half of
which are about 40 years old. Each ageing reactor needs periodically to be
shut down, on a rotating basis…

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