French utility EDF may have to shut down electricity generation at its 2,600 megawatt (MW) Golfech nuclear power plant in the south of France because of high temperatures forecast on the Garonne river.
The power utility uses water from the river to cool the two reactors at the plant, but French meteorological services have forecast hot and dry weather, with a risk of a heatwave in the southeastern parts of the country.
“Due to the temperature forecasts on the Garonne, production restrictions are likely to affect EDF’s nuclear power plant at Golfech from Tuesday July 23,” the company said, adding that both reactors could be unavailable.
EDF operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, which account for more than 75 percent of the country’s electricity needs. Its use of water from rivers as a reactor coolant is regulated by law to protect plant and animal life.
The company is obliged to reduce output from its reactors when water temperatures rise or when river levels and the flow rate are low.