French utility EDF is postponing the restart of the Cruas nuclear plant’s Unit 2 until mid-week in order to extend the inspection prompted by the 5.1 magnitude earthquake of November 11, French regulators said.
The nuclear regulator ASN said the inspection would continue while technicians look for potential problems caused by the earthquake that shook the four-reactor plant but did no visible damage. Concerns in France quickly turned to the potential lack of power that could create problems in the region at the onset of winter. Currently, 18 of the country’s 58 reactors are shut down temporarily. Grid operator trade group Etso-E, meanwhile, issued a report Wednesday that said there was a potential risk of power shortages in France and Belgium, according to Reuters.
Cruas 2 is a 900-megawatt reactor in a plant that has a total capacity of 3,600 megawatts. The extended shutdown, however, was expected to last another three days, barring the discovery of any significant damage. Concurrently, Cruas 4is on schedule for a restart on December 9 and Cruas 3 is to restart December 19. Unit 1 will remain offline. It was shut down prior to the earthquake – in September – for a scheduled maintenance period.
EDF said on its website that “the ongoing control process” was holding up the restart of Unit 2. While no problems were visible, a sensor was triggered during the earthquake that mandated an inspection shutdown.
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