European heat wave forces French nuclear plants to shut down

Fessenheim from EDF
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PARIS — As Europe struggles through a major heat wave, the French energy company EDF says it has halted a fourth nuclear reactor, this time one at the country’s oldest nuclear plant at Fessenheim in eastern France.

In a statement, EDT said the Fessenheim nuclear reactor was temporarily shut down Saturday.

Since Thursday, four French nuclear reactors in three power plants near the Rhine and the Rhone Rivers, including Fessenheim, have had to be temporarily shut down. EDF said the decision was made to avoid overheating the rivers.

Nuclear power plants use water from the rivers to cool down the temperatures of their reactors before sending the water back into the rivers. Rivers that are unusually warm can experience mass fish die-offs, which has happened in Germany in the past week.

France and Germany aren’t alone in baking under a continent-wide heat wave. In Norway, authorities warned motorists to watch out for reindeer and sheep taking shelter from the heat in highway tunnels. The country has an estimated 220,000 reindeer and more than 800,000 sheep.

Neighboring Sweden has been fighting an uncommon number of wildfires this summer, even above the Arctic Circle, and a European Union official pointed his finger at climate change.

 

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