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Nationalising EDF is no cure-all for France’s nuclear industry troubles

 The French state has said it will fully nationalise EDF, the debt-laden utility that runs the nation’s nuclear power plants and which the government has so far struggled to restructure. It has not said whether it
will buy out minority shareholders on the market or take control by law.

But however it is nationalised, it doesn’t guarantee a fix for EDF’s mountain of debt or its corroding reactors and it won’t reduce the cost of shielding consumers from sky-high energy prices.

Analysts say the government’s main goal may be to secure a freehand in running a business that has a roughly 80% share of the French electricity market, once it is delisted and the state no longer has to answer to any other shareholders.


About half of EDF’s 56 nuclear reactors in France are now offline, in part due to corrosion issues. EDF has repeatedly cut its planned nuclear output for 2022, just as Europe scrambles to find alternative energy sources as Russian gas supplies dwindle.

As well as problems with old reactors, it is also running years late and billions of euros above budget in building a new-generation of reactors in France and Britain, raising questions about whether it has to fix fundamental design faults. Furthermore, EDF has been hobbled by a regulated tariff system, known as Arenh, forcing it to sell 100 terawatt/hours (TWh) of nuclear generation to power retailers and large
consumers at 42 euros/MWh, which is well below market levels.

 Reuters 7th Aug 2022

July 7, 2022 - Posted by | France, politics

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