France’s Minister for Energy Transition said on Friday that French electricity giant EDF had pledged to restart all its nuclear reactors by this winter to help the country through the vast energy crisis aggravated by the war in Ukraine. .
Agnes Pannier-Runacher said the government was taking steps to “avoid restrictive measures” on energy consumption during the peak winter cold season, following a special government meeting on energy issues.
France depends on nuclear energy for around 67% of its electricity – more than any other country – and on gas for around 7%.
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Currently, 32 of the 56 French nuclear reactors, all operated by EDF, are shut down for routine maintenance and, in some cases, to repair corrosion problems.
“There is a schedule which provides that from October, every week, a new (nuclear) plant is operational again,” Pannier-Runacher said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne warned that a worst-case scenario this winter could lead to power cuts for two consecutive hours in French homes.
The government will “closely monitor” the situation of nuclear power plants that have reported corrosion problems. EDF “has started to act and they must confirm to us that it is going as they had planned,” Pannier-Runacher said.
In June, France deployed an “energy sobriety” plan, aiming for a 10% reduction in energy consumption by 2024.
The move comes amid fears that Russia will cut gas supplies and that imports of liquefied natural gas will not be enough to meet Europe’s energy needs.
Pannier-Runacher said the country’s strategic gas reserves were 92% full.
In addition, electricity and gas exchanges with neighboring Spain and Germany will be strengthened this winter, she said.
Russia’s state-controlled energy company Gazprom this week halted the flow of natural gas through a major gas pipeline linking Russia to Europe, citing temporary planned maintenance.