×

UPDATE 2-France's EDF trims forecasts with new delay in restart of nuclear reactors

reactors@

* EDF says strengthening works completed at Tricastin dike

* Says files submitted to regulator, expect restarts on Nov. 27

* Cuts nuclear output target for the second time (Adds EDF's statement, ASN, background)

PARIS, Oct 27 (Reuters) - French state-controlled electricity generator EDF on Friday further trimmed its nuclear power output forecast for 2017 and revised its profit target after postponing the restart of its plant at Tricastin, in the southeast of the country.

The utility said it was reducing its total nuclear power output forecast to 383-387 terrawatt-hours (TWh) for this year from an already revised target of 385-392 TWh.

EDF had lowered the target in September after the French nuclear safety authority (ASN) ordered it to shut down Tricastin's four pressurised water reactors after it found flaws in a canal dike bordering the plant.

It also cut its financial forecast for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to 13.4-14.0 billion euros ($15.5-16.2 billion) from a previous range of 13.7-14.3 billion euros.

Earlier on Friday, EDF said on its website that it had postponed the restart of all four reactors at Tricastin by three weeks until the end of November without giving reasons.

It said in the statement that work on strengthening the dike ordered by the ASN had been completed on Friday, leaving ASN, together with its technical arm, the IRSN, to inspect it.

"The estimated restart date of the Tricastin reactors is November 27, 2017 as at today," EDF said.

On slides published on Friday, EDF said a team of about 40 workers, including 25 trucks in rotation, had been working from dawn to dusk on the dike. It said the cost of the work was around 3 million euros and was undertaken by Vinci Construction .

A spokeswoman for ASN said earlier on Friday that the agency was still examining reports submitted by EDF concerning the repair works.

The regulator had said in September that the restart of the reactors were subject to its approval.

Analysts have raised concerns that France, which depends on nuclear power for more than three-quarters of its electricity needs, could face tight supply this winter due to the prolonged outages of several nuclear reactors.

European wholesale power prices for the coming weeks and the month of November rose sharply on Friday after EDF announced the delays.

The Tricastin reactors, which have a combined capacity of 3,600 megawatts, were scheduled to resume production next week.

EDF said in a separate note on Friday that it had also postponed the restart of its 1,300 MW Paluel 2 nuclear reactor by two months to April 15.

The Paluel 2 reactor went offline in May 2015 for its 10-year periodic overhaul. But in March 2016, during the maintenance work, its steam generator weighing more than 450 tonnes crashed on to the reactor floor during handling, causing extensive damage.

The ASN this week authorised EDF to change the steam generator. (Reporting by Bate Felix; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta, Greg Mahlich)