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French Power Stations Allowed to Break Environment Rules

  • French power stations are reportedly being allowed to break environmental rules to stay open, per Bloomberg.
  • The waiver is in place until September and will potentially breach national environmental standards.
  • Europe’s prolonged hot weather is putting a further strain on energy supplies.

The European energy crisis set into motion by the Russian invasion of Ukraine shows no signs of abating and looks to deepen further in coming weeks as record heatwaves hit the continent.

In France, the crisis is so bad that power stations are being allowed to break environmental rules to stay open as the country struggles to maintain national energy supplies, according to a report from Bloomberg.

The French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) granted a temporary waiver allowing five nuclear plants across the country to dispense more than the authorized amount of hot water into rivers, the news agency reported.

The waiver, reportedly in place until September, allows Electricite de France to keep the energy plants operating amid national pressure on supply.

Electricite de France did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

In France, rivers and waterways are used to cool power plants. Under the current environmental rules, nuclear plants must reduce or stop output when river temperatures reach a point at which use by the plants may harm the environment, per Bloomberg. That provision is being temporarily halted.

Europe’s prolonged high temperatures are putting further pressure on the bloc’s already strained energy supplies.

The River Rhine, one of the continent’s most important rivers, is drying up amid the record-breaking summer heatwaves, Insider reported last month. The river is currently at its lowest level in at least 15 years, making moving goods — including coal and gas — in container ships down the river a challenge.

Northwest and central Europe are set for even more hot weather in the coming weeks. Temperatures in the UK, France, and Germany are expected to soar on Friday, with some estimates predicting highs of 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the week.

The demand for cooling systems such as fans and air conditioning in the heat puts even more pressure on Europe’s energy supplies.

In a further issue for European energy supplies, Norway has also threatened to ration international electricity exports if domestic needs are not met, per The Guardian.

Water levels in southern Norway have been so low that the government has said it may need to prioritize its own citizens ahead of international customers, the news outlet said.

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