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France braces for power cuts in winter

The temporary disconnection of several nuclear power plants for regular checks in France has prompted a grid operator to warn against possible power cuts in December. Households could be affected, too.

French grid operator RTE said Tuesday it might have to take "exceptional measures including short power cuts in certain areas of the country in order to continue providing electricity to homes during the winter period.

It said it may also ask industrial users for voluntary cuts to ease the situation. RTE said the first three weeks of December could be the period when French supply could be less robust in case of a prolonged cold snap that could necessitate the use of non-standard measures.

The grid operator warned that French supply security this winter could be less safe due to prolonged outages at a number of EDF's French nuclear reactors, some of which were undergoing safety tests.

Awareness campaign

According to current estimates, 13 out of France's 58 French reactors will be out of operation in December, following an order by regulators to check the facilities. The move came after reports on irregularities in steam-driven generators made by Areva.

A new mobile phone app will be available in France warning households of peak demand periods.

RTE said consumers would be called upon to drastically reduce their electricity use and operate energy-intensive household appliances outside peak hours.

Watch video 01:08

French labor law protestors blockade nuclear power plants (May 2016)

hg/jd (dpa, Reuters)

 

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