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Europe Power-Ample wind, French nuclear drag spot down

* Online French nuclear capacity up 7 points

* More wind electricity output in Germany, France

* Unions stopped E.ON's French thermal power plants

PARIS, Oct 11 (Reuters) - European spot power prices tumbled on Thursday, with ample supply expected from German wind turbines and French nuclear reactors, while consumption in the two countries was set to fall ahead of the weekend.

French day-ahead baseload was down 7.75 euros on the day at 46.25 euros ($59.86) a megawatt hour (MWh)

, while Germany's equivalent spot contract also fell 6.85 euros to 45.15 euros per MWh.

"Wind power in Germany is predicted to pick up over the entire course of the day. We expect an increase of close to 3GW," Thomson Reuters Point Carbon analysts wrote on Thursday.

"In France a lot more wind is coming in during the early part of the day with levels reaching up as high as 3GW," they added.

Another bearish factor was a surge in available French nuclear power, with four of EDF's

reactors returning to the grid on Thursday after outages, bringing nuclear capacity to almost 77 percent from about 70 percent the day before.

However, trade unions in the French energy sector said in a statement late on Thursday they had halted E.ON's

French thermal power stations for the whole of Thursday.

A 24-hour strike already cut production capacity at E.ON's thermal electricity plants earlier this week, with workers protesting against job cuts and plant closures.

Along the forwards power curve, Germany's benchmark contract for 2013 delivery

shed 12 cents to 47.63 euros and the same position in France was down 50 cents to 50.25 euros.

Swedish utility Vattenfall's German unit

started

up a new coal-fired power station on Thursday, in a rare departure from the country's strategy to focus on renewable energy and ditch its nuclear power.

Brent and U.S. crude futures pared some of their strong gains after separate reports showed U.S. jobless claims fell last week, while the U.S. trade deficit widened in August and import prices rose in September.

Prompt physical coal prices was also down by $1-2 a tonne, in line with coal swaps' weakness in early trading.

($1 = 0.7726 euros)

(Reporting by Michel Rosel; editing by Keiron Henderson)

((michel.rose@thomsonreuters.com)(+331 4949 5570)(Reuters Messaging: michel.rose.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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Keywords: MARKETS EUROPE/ELECTRICITY