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France’s struggle to be the world’s king of nuclear reactor sales

The real problem, ….. is that Areva’s main reactor offering, one of the most advanced on the market, is too expensive—

France Aims to Be Atop the Nuclear Pile – WSJ.com,  29 Nov 10, “……..In an attempt to restore its companies to prominence, the French government has reorganized the nation’s nuclear sector.

Among other things, state-controlled utility Électricité de France SA, or EDF, has been given a leading role in bidding on nuclear projects abroad and has been told to boost its stake in state-owned Areva, the country’s sole builder of nuclear reactors.
But critics contend that the reorganization is unnecessary and possibly counterproductive. The real problem, they say, is that Areva’s main reactor offering, one of the most advanced on the market, is too expensive—a problem Areva already has begun to address by forming a joint venture with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. to develop a smaller, cheaper reactor.

Tying Areva more closely to EDF not only doesn’t solve that problem, critics say, but might create others: It could make it harder for Areva to sell reactors to other utilities, especially those that compete directly with EDF for power-supply contracts,
“Having a gigantic nuclear group that would design, build and operate reactors is such a bad solution,” says Jean-Marie Chevalier, a nuclear-industry expert at Paris Dauphine University. “It would be like Air France having a stake in Airbus, and British Airways asking Air France when it wants to buy an aircraft.”…..

November 30, 2010 - Posted by | France, politics

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