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EDF will meet French nuclear output goals, new CEO to tell parliament

A flag with the company logo of Electricite de France (EDF) and a French flag fly next to the EDF power plant in Bouchain, near Valenciennes, France, September 29, 2021. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

The new CEO-designate of France’s nuclear group EDF expects to meet output expectations set out by the country’s grid operator for December and January as more reactors restart, according to written answers provided ahead of parliamentary hearings.

Luc Remont, whose appointment at the helm of EDF was proposed by President Emmanuel Macron last month, will appear before both chambers of parliament on Wednesday in his first public outing as the company’s incoming boss.

Ahead of the hearing, he answered questions by MPs in a written document dated Oct 21, whose authenticity was confirmed to Reuters by two parliamentary sources. EDF declined to comment.

In the document Remont was asked about his strategy to get EDF’s nuclear fleet ready in time for the winter following an unprecedented number of outages this year, partly due to corrosion issues detected as some reactors.

“Rest assured that ensuring a maximum availability of production took for this winter and the coming ones will be my first priority,” he wrote.

He said repair works were progressing in a satisfactory manner and had already been completed at four of the reactors affected by corrosion problems – Chinon B3, Bugey 4, Cattenom 4, Tricastin 3.

Maintenance at other reactors was also continuing, with a large numbers concerned expected to restart in the next few weeks, he said.

“My objective is to fulfil the expectation voiced by RTE for nuclear output in a range of between 38 and 40 GW as of December 1st 2022 and of between 45 and 50 GW as of January 1 2023,” Remont said.

French nuclear output this year has hit a 30-year low, with 32.5 GW available and almost half of the production capacity offline on Tuesday.

Reuters Graphics
Reuters Graphics

Several analysts have cast doubt on EDF’s ability to stick to its maintenance schedule, in part because a strike delayed works at some reactors in recent weeks.

Remont said that he expected EDF, which has had a string of profit warnings this year and said lower nuclear output would shave 29 billion euros off its core 2022 earnings, to post high earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) in 2023.

EDF is in the process of being fully nationalised, with the state buying out the 16% of the company it does not already own.

Source: Reuters