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Financiers desert France’s EPR nuclear power plan for UK’s Hinkley Point C project

Le Monde 16th Sept 2018 [Machine Translation] Can EDF’s finances support such a trajectory? The company’s chief financial officer, Thomas Piquemal, slammed the door in 2015, worried that the UK’s Hinkley Point EPR would weigh heavily on the company. According to him, the need for the nuclear company  to finance alone two thirds of the project creates a situation too risky. ”

Who would bet 60% to 70% of its heritage on a technology that we still do not know if it works, while it’s been ten years that we try to build it? “, He launches in front of the deputies in 2016. This is the heart of the problem for EDF: how to finance new reactors? For Hinkley Point, it took considerable resources, even though EDF won a gold contract with the British state: for thirty years, the French group will sell its electricity at a guaranteed rate, twice the current price electricity!

In other words, British consumers will see their bill increase. In fact, most countries that continue to build nuclear power can only do so with a strong commitment from the state and a guaranteed income for private investors.

But the France of 2018 is no longer that of Pierre Messmer and the Commissariat au plan in 1974, when the French nuclear plan was launched. The impossible equation But the atom requires long time. “When we talk about the EPR, we
are talking about an investment over a century. We are in a period in which people want shorter-term returns, even in infrastructure, “says Emmanuel Autier of Bearing Point.

We are not going to scramble to finance a project that has not yet proved its worth while it is much more profitable and less risky to finance renewable energy,” notes an investment fund manager. Especially since EDF’s current structure, subject to stock market fluctuations, does not encourage long-term commitment. “Finance costs are a
very important part of construction. A listed company can not wear that on its balance sheet in a massive way, “agrees Valérie Faudon, SFEN.

“It will be necessary for the state to play its full role by creating a new regulatory framework,” admits Xavier Ursat. In other words: to sustain the EPR – and make survive EDF – it will be up to the state to guarantee the investments and consumers to bear the burden on their electricity bill.

This is the impossible equation in which EDF is: to survive in its current form, it must.

Les Echos 17th Sept 2018 Nuclear: the amazing schedule for the extension of reactors. The first reactor of the Tricastin plant will stop in June 2019 to start the extension work after 40 years. But ASN will not give its generic opinion on
the subject until the end of 2020.

September 18, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, France

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