Nuclear concerns continue in France

The French nuclear power authorities fear, that the country’s reactors are not strong enough to resist powerful earthquakes. This causes renewed insecurity for the country’s nuclear power sector.

Earthquakes are usually not a topic one connects to France, but the country has previously experienced quite powerful quakes. Therefore, the country’s nuclear power authorities have been forced to take the potential risk seriously. Wednesday, the country’s nuclear power operators, EDF, announced that there are “significant safety risks” at 29 of the country’s nuclear power reactors in case of an earthquake.

The security issues mean, that the operators have to conduct repair work on the many affected reactors to make them capable of resisting a potential earthquake. The 29 reactors account for half of all French nuclear power reactors.

Even though EDF is now facing a significant repair work on several of the country’s reactors, the operators do not expect, that this will have any noticeable consequences for the daily production on the plants. Repair work can be done, without closing the reactors.

Despite the assurances of EDF, that the repair work will not affect the production level anything noticeable, the French nuclear prices still rose Wednesday, and pulled several of the other countries in Europe upwards as well. In the Nordic area, prices rose as well, although the upside here was limited due to wet weather and a strengthened hydro balance. In general, the market has a low level of confidence to the French nuclear authorities and operators, and it is not the first time that prices rise on news, despite the operators’ assurances that the problems will not affect the production.

The most powerful earthquake ever measured in France was 6.0 on the Richter scale, and happened in the Provence region in the southern part of the country, in 1909.