By Geoffrey Smith
Investing.com -- Electricite de France (EPA:EDF) stock fell over 5% on Tuesday after Europe’s largest nuclear power generator said it may have to cut output at some of its power stations this summer due to drought.
By 9:25 AM ET (1325 GMT), EDF stock was down 6.0%, and is now down 19% for the year.
The ongoing drought has depressed water levels in France’s rivers, leaving not enough water for cooling EDF’s reactors, especially in the south-east of the country.
The news is a fresh blow not only to the company, which has already made repeated cuts to its output forecasts for this year due to other technical problems with its reactors, but also to the broader European economy, which is already struggling with sky-high energy costs, due to Russia reducing its natural gas shipments. That has forced countries such as Germany, the Netherlands and Austria to restart coal-fired power plants that had previously been mothballed due to environmental concerns.
French power prices have more than tripled this year and currently trade at just below their record of 403 euros a megawatt-hour.
Around half of EDF’s nuclear reactors are already currently down for planned maintenance or repairs.
An abnormally low amount of snowfall in the Alps during the winter has also led to severe water shortages in northern Italy, where the River Po is too low to allow the normal level of water use by the country’s agricultural sector.