French nuclear output slumps

While the European gas market has taken the headlines recently, the French power market has had its own travails. Faults discovered at the Civaux nuclear plant in December and subsequent outages across several plants for investigation drove average French nuclear generation in December to 42 GW, the lowest since pre-2015. Alongside the gas crunch and fears of cold weather, French baseload power prices for early Q1 delivery leaped above 1000 EUR/MWh late last month, potentially pricing periods of blackout and forcing some industrial demand to shut down.

Some reprieve has since been found. Nuclear availability has recovered slightly to 49 GW (9 reactors offline), though this remains at multi-year lows in January. The gas market has also relaxed from its peak, with the pass through impact on European power prices, leading French baseload prices for February to around 315 EUR/MWh – still significantly high by historical standards.