French nuclear trouble triggers bouncing electricity prices

A large portion of France's 59 nuclear power plants were put offline last month. This triggers abnormal price hikes in European electricity and provided the UK with the unfamiliar role of exporting electricity.

Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP/Ritzau

France's nuclear power industry is down for the count, and no one knows how long the problems will last. Doubts regarding the steel quality on several French nuclear power plants – owned and operated by utility EDF – have led French authorities to temporarily close 19 nuclear reactors. Another 12 reactors are suspected of containing the weak steel and will likely also be inspected and hit by consequential temporary shutdowns.

The dramatic development in France, which has escalated in the past month, has triggered the largest fluctuations in European electricity prices since the nuclear crisis at the Fukishima plant in Japan led to an emergency shutdown of German nuclear power plants in 2011.

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