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The nuclear problems of EDF  

Poster EDF menteurNo2NuclearPower, No.93 March 2017

The French government is selling assets so it can prop up its heavily indebted nuclear utilities. EDF announced in 2015 that it would divest €10bn of assets by 2020 to ease its debt load ‒ which now stands at €37.4bn. EDF, which is supposed to be building a new nuclear plant at Hinkley Point, issued three profit warnings last year following a string of unplanned nuclear plant shutdowns.

EDF is contending with a government-directed restructuring of the French nuclear industry, and is being pushed by the French state, its controlling shareholder, to rescue reactor builder Areva by taking over the part of its struggling business that is behind EPR technology. The EPR reactor that EDF is building at Flamanville in France is already six years late and €7.2bn over budget. A large drop in French nuclear output over the winter due to safety inspections on 18 of its French reactors, at the request of the country’s nuclear regulator ASN, was partly to blame for a sharp drop in profits. Furthermore, the company is saddled with debt and needs to spend €55bn upgrading its existing reactors in France. (4) A recent report for Greenpeace France suggests that if EDF has to close 17 of its 58 reactors to meet the government’s requirement that nuclear power should provide 50% of the nation’s electricity in 2025, then EDF will have to increase its provisions by more than €20 billion. The cost of handling nuclear waste will add at least €33.5 billion to that figure. (5)

A French parliamentary committee said that EDF would need a public bailout to meet the cost of closing ageing power stations. The warning was issued after unions expressed fury about an announcement that EDF plans to cut 3,900 jobs in France over the next three years. Jean-Marc Sylvestre, an economics commentator, said that the group was on the “edge of a precipice” and faced a choice between privatisation and bankruptcy. He described EDF’s situation as a “catastrophe foretold”. EDF’ s critics say that the company, which has debts of more than €37 billion lacks the financial resources to meet its commitments in France, let alone embark upon the Hinkley Point scheme. Their concerns were fuelled with the publication of a report by the committee for sustainable development, which accused EDF of failing to plan for the dismantling of its plants. (6) EDF has only set aside has €36 billion to pay to clean up reactors at the end of their working lives, whereas it needs €75 billion. EDF disputes the figures. (7)


March 4, 2017 - Posted by | business and costs, France

1 Comment »

  1. […] difficulties of its own. It is already deep in debt and its flagship project to build a prototype 1,600 megawatt reactor at Flamanville in northern France is six years behind schedule and three times over budget at €10.5 […]

    Pingback by The Slow Death Spiral Of Nuclear Energy | PopularResistance.Org | April 17, 2017 | Reply

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