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France and western Europe were Tuesday bracing for a new record-breaking heatwave that is forcing the temporary shutdown of a French nuclear power station and will test competitors in the legendary Tour de France cycle race.
Forecasters predicted new temperatures highs in a string of countries, including Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, where the mercury is set to reach 40 degrees Celsius (104 Fahrenheit) for the first time on Thursday.
Day - Record - Temperature - Capital - Paris—40
The same day could also see the all-time record temperature for the French capital Paris—40.4 degrees Celsius (104.7 degrees Fahrenheit) in 1947—beaten.
And as the Tour de France reached its final week in the southeast of the country, ice foot baths and extra water points were on hand to avoid dehydration.
Week - Tour - France - Heat - Difference
"In the third week of the Tour de France, I think heat like this could make the difference," said Davide Bramati, head of sport for team Deceuninck, whose cyclist Julian Alaphilippe is currently leading the world-famous race.
French energy company EDF said it would temporarily shut down the two reactors at its Golftech nuclear power plant this week in the southern Tarn-et-Garonne department, in a bid to limit the heating of water used to keep reactors cool.
Reactor - Number - Tuesday - Evening - Number
Reactor number 2 will shut down on Tuesday evening and number 1 on Wednesday, with both due to stay shut until July 30.
France is gearing up for a surge in electricity use this week, but the national electricity board said Monday that there will be enough supplies.
Authorities around Europe also issued health warnings, encouraging older or vulnerable people to be particularly vigilant.
Britain—where - Temperatures - Record - Degrees - Celsius
In Britain—where temperatures could exceee the all-time record of 38.5 degrees Celsius (101 Fahrenheit) on Thursday—asthma sufferers were warned of...
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