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German nuclear remains reduced at six reactors despite switchover

London (Platts)--13 Jan 2017 804 am EST/1304 GMT


German nuclear availability remains reduced for weeks 3 and 4 with just six reactors online despite a switchover Friday at two reactors in the southern state of Bavaria, plant operator data shows.

The 1.3-GW Gundremmingen C unit was reconnected with the grid and currently ramped up to full capacity, the plant operator said in a statement Friday.

The reactor was taken offline earlier than planned on December 11 for additional maintenance and repairs on top of planned short refueling stop and tripped during a first restart attempt on January 6 requiring some additional repairs, the operator -- majority-owned by RWE -- said.

The 1.4-GW Isar 2 reactor is set to come offline Friday night for its annual refueling and maintenance stop, currently scheduled to last two weeks, operator PreussenElektra, a unit of E.ON, said in a statement Friday. Isar 2 and the two reactors at Gundremmingen provided around 37% of Bavaria's power demand last year, but are set to close over coming years creating a potential shortage of electricity in the state especially with the planned grid expansion lagging behind with major new North-South links unlikely to be available before 2025.

German nuclear availability this winter is at its lowest since at the least the 1980s because of a number of unprecedented winter refueling stops after the nuclear fuel tax expired at the end of last year as well as additional maintenance, which have already led to extended outages. Two more German reactors are scheduled to come offline for refueling stops in February, plant operator data shows.

Global Platts estimates combined loss of nuclear output due to non-availability of those reactors to be around 5 TWh from December to February.

Overall, German nuclear output in 2016 already fell to its lowest since at least the 1980s, with 85 TWh generated by the remaining eight reactors and the next closures scheduled for the end of this year (Gundremmingen B) and the end of 2019 (Philippsburg 2).

Germany plans to close the remaining six reactors by 2021/22. --Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com --Edited by Jonathan Dart, jonathan.dart@spglobal




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