The risk appears “high in January but will largely depend on weather conditions and the possible occurrence of even a moderate cold snap”, according to RTE.

Clearly: the risk that RTE calls on the French to reduce their electricity consumption in January, under penalty of power cuts, has increased, in particular because the maintenance of EDF reactors has been delayed due to a strike.

According to RTE forecasts, only about 40 gigawatts (GW) of power from the nuclear fleet should be available at the beginning of January, which corresponds to 65% of the installed nuclear capacity.

Electricité de France (EDF) provided for its part last week an availability of 48 GW on January 1st.

Currently, of the 56 reactors in the French nuclear fleet, nearly half are shut down, either for scheduled maintenance or for “stress corrosion” problems, suspected or proven.

This has reduced nuclear electricity production to its lowest level in history, in the midst of the energy crisis, and caused billions of euros in losses this year for EDF, whose government has planned to renationalise 100%.