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French forward power prices rally on nuclear repairs

11 Oct 2017, 6.41 pm GMT

French forward power prices rally on nuclear repairs

London, 11 October (Argus) — French forward prices have rallied this morning after French state-controlled utility EdF said it is fixing pumping station pipes at 29 of its reactors, after discovering that they may lack earthquake resistance and pose a risk to cooling systems.

EdF's announcement has so far not led any changes in its nuclear maintenance schedule for this year. The utility has reported the issue to the French nuclear and safety regulator ASN and has classified the problem as a level 2 out of 7 on the international nuclear and radiological event scale (INES).

The utility is working on the reinforcement of pipes at five reactors which are off line — Chinon B3, Cruas 1, Dampierre 3, Nogent 1, Saint Luarent-des-Eaux B2. The work will be completed before they restart, EdF said.

Work is also under way at nine other reactors, Cruas 2-3, Paluel 3-4, Saint-Alban 1-2 and Tricastin 1-3-4, after investigations revealed a risk of flooding or loss of the reactor cooling water system.

EdF said it has reinforced pipes at nine reactors — Belleville 1 and 2, Cattenom 3 and 4, Dampierre 1 and 2, Golfech 1 and 2, and Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux B1.

Reinforcement work has been completed on the cooling water systems of the six remaining reactors, which are on line. This will guarantee that the plants "can operate safely in the event of an earthquake", EdF said.

Power prices traded higher this morning in the over-the-counter (OTC) market, supported by concerns about nuclear plant availability in the coming months.

The November base-load contract last traded at €73/MWh, up from €69.50/MWh at yesterday's close. December base-load last traded at €71.25/MWh up from the €66.3/MWh close yesterday.

The first quarter 2018 base-load contract last traded at €61.7/MWh, up from €59.50/MWh at yesterday's close.

The 2018 base-load contract also found support last trading at €43.4/MWh, up from €42.70/MWh at yesterday's close.

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