EDF to restart all its nuclear reactors this winter - minister

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FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the four cooling towers and the reactors of the Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power plant in Cattenom

PARIS (Reuters) -French state-owned utility EDF will restart all its nuclear reactors, more than half of which are now closed for maintenance or technical issues, this winter, France's Energy Minister said on Friday.

Pannier-Runacher spoke after President Emmanuel Macron held a special cabinet meeting to address the country's energy supply situation, coordinate efforts to reduce consumption, and prepare contingency plans in case the country faces a shortage.

"EDF has committed to restart all its reactors for this winter," Agnes Pannier-Runacher told a news conference.

She said that currently 32 of EDF's 56 reactors are halted for maintenance or technical problems.

Pannier-Runacher said that a maximum number of reactors are now closed for maintenance in order to make sure that they will be ready and available during peak demand periods this winter.

"From October, each week new reactors will restart," she said. "We will closely follow with EDF those reactors that have been closed for corrosion problems."

French power prices have soared to historic highs as the market fears that France, once Europe's top power exporter, may not produce enough nuclear energy this winter to help European neighbours seeking alternatives to Russian gas, and may even have to ration electricity to meet its own needs.

Pannier-Runacher also said that French gas storage sites are currently 92% filled and said that while Russian gas deliveries are currently at their lowest point, they have not completely stopped.

"The energy situation is serious, but we have activated all levers to get through the winter," she said.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Richard Lough, William Maclean and Jan Harvey)