by Staff Writers
Helsinki (AFP) Nov 16, 2016
Finnish utility TVO said Wednesday it was "alarmed" by the French nuclear industry's restructuring plans after France's Areva, which is building its troubled nuclear reactor, confirmed the sale of its reactor business.
French power giant EDF and Areva said earlier Wednesday they had signed "binding agreements" for the sale of Areva's struggling reactor business to EDF for 2.5 billion euros ($2.7 billion).
EDF is to continue the reactor business under a company called New NP.
A source familiar with the case told AFP on Tuesday that the new company will not bear any financial liabilities related to the Olkiluoto 3 reactor that Areva has been building for TVO in Finland since 2005 with German engineering group Siemens.
"TVO is alarmed about the evolution of the restructuring of the French nuclear industry, and considers that the separation of project ownership from the resources needed for the completion and commissioning of OL3 (reactor) is not appropriate behaviour from a nuclear technology vendor," its senior vice president Anna Lehtiranta told AFP by email.
The Olkiluoto 3 reactor in western Finland was supposed to be the world's first European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), with a start date initially planned in 2009 but now delayed to 2018.
TVO and Areva are locked in a bitter arbitration case over the costs of the delay.
Areva has claimed damages of 3.4 billion euros, and TVO 2.6 billion euros via the International Chamber of Commerce.
Lehtiranta said TVO is "extremely concerned" that Areva, stripped of its reactor operations, would not be adequately funded and resourced to complete the Finnish reactor, "when technical expertise and vital human resources are being transferred to the so-called 'New Areva NP.'"
EDF and Areva have negotiated the sales deal for more than a year, and in September, TVO resorted to legal action against Areva in a French commercial court to seek assurances that the Olkiluoto 3 project would not be delayed again.
Areva has assured this will not happen, saying the plant's cold tests, without nuclear fuel, are due to begin in 2017.
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