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France’s nuclear reactors impacted by latest heat wave

Latest hot spell set to deepen drought pain in France, Saudi Gazette, July 17, 2019 

 Hot weather in France next week is expected to prolong drought conditions that have impacted several sectors including nuclear power generation and farming, and led to restrictions on water use in 61 administrative regions.French meteorological services expect very hot and dry weather next week, with a slight risk of a heatwave in the southeastern part of the country. This comes after a hot spell set record temperatures at the end of June.

The hot weather and lack of rainfall throughout the year have led to very low levels of groundwater, which contributes to the volume and flow of rivers, said Violaine Bault, hydrologist at French Geological Survey BRGM.

When groundwater decreases and there is no rainfall, rivers dry up.

The situation was more critical in the Loire, Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes and Burgundy regions in central and eastern France. The Rhone River has been severely impacted. There has been very little rainfall in the region over the past three winters, Bault said.

French state-controlled utility EDF said on Tuesday that due to flow forecasts for the Rhone river, electricity generation could be restricted at its Bugey, St-Alban and Tricastin nuclear power plants from Saturday, July 20.

The nuclear plants, with a combined capacity of around 10,800 megawatts, use water from the river as coolant.

EDF’s use of water is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life. It is obliged to reduce output during hot weather when water temperatures rise, or when river levels and the flow rate are low.

The company said two nuclear reactors at the St. Alban plant and one at Bugey could be impacted over the weekend, but production losses are expected to be lower from Monday………

July 18, 2019 - Posted by | climate change, France

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