Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Nuclear Energy News .

France moves to salvage key nuclear reactor sector
By Marie HEUCLIN, Richard LEIN
Paris (AFP) June 4, 2015

France faces a unique challenge as it moves to save nuclear reactor manufacturer Areva and salvage one of its world-class industries and jobs, while at same time reducing its own reliance on atomic power.

The French presidency on Wednesday endorsed merging Areva's reactor-building unit with state-owned electricity company EDF, adding that the government would spend "as much as necessary" to recapitalise the troubled nuclear group, which is also controlled by the state.

Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that the government aims to "stabilise, save" the nuclear sector he termed "an industry of the future in France and abroad."

France has the world's second-largest nuclear sector, and generates around 75 percent of its power needs through nuclear capacities -- a greater proportion than any other economy.

It has also made the export of nuclear technology an economic priority, with Areva and EDF promoting the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR), a third-generation reactor design that France considers the most advanced and safest in the world.

But the industry has slumped since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, with several countries moving to reduce or even eliminate nuclear energy, like Germany's plans to phase it out by 2022.

Even France now aims to cut its dependence, with legislation to reduce reliance on nuclear to 50 percent by 2025 nearing final adoption.

Meanwhile, Areva has run into major construction difficulties with its first EPR reactor in Finland, which is now expected to begin operating in 2018 -- nine years late, and at nearly four billion euros ($4.5 billion) in costs to Areva.

It has also recently been discovered that Areva's reactor at EDF's EPR facility in Flamanville, France, has a serious manufacturing defect.

Doubts over nuclear's future and the repeated manufacturing problems have provoked a meltdown in Areva's finances.

The company, which is 87 percent owned by the French state, suffered a record net loss of 4.8 billion euros in 2014 from costs linked to delays.

Last month Areva said it would slash up to 6,000 jobs worldwide amid one billion euros of cost-cutting by 2017.

- New outlook -

Following the government's announcement, EDF will have a month to hash out the terms of absorbing Areva NP, the reactor subsidiary that employs around 15,000 of Areva's total workforce of about 45,000. Areva would then focus on uranium extraction, enrichment and reprocessing.

"The challenge isn't merely to respond to financial difficulties that Areva might encounter, but to restructure the entire sector and give it a new outlook," said an official close to President Francois Hollande Wednesday.

Macron said that "the French camp needs to work together internationally," adding Areva and EDF "had too often in the past competed against one another."

According to French business daily Les Echos, EDF has offered to pay just over two billion euros to become the main owner of Areva NP. Neither company have responded to that report.

A Paris broker who asked to remain anonymous estimated Areva's reactor business being worth around 4.5 billion euros.

Merged reactor operations might attract other potential investors to Areva, with speculation rife that state-held Chinese companies China National Nuclear Corporation and China General Nuclear could take a stake of up to 10 percent.

EDF, which is 84.5 percent state-owned, is also averse to finding itself on the hook for losses connected to the Finnish reactor.

French Energy Minister Segolene Royal warned Thursday that "we must make a complete inventory of the needs" of the sector.

Officials also moved quickly to quash speculation that the costs of rescuing Areva would be recouped by EDF through the state raising regulated electricity rates.

The broker estimated the merged company's long-term financing needs at seven billion euros.

With a record 3.5 million people out of work and the economy barely growing, the French government has become active in ensuring its stumbling industrial giants don't fall.

Last year it secured assurances most of Alstom's energy business will stay in France after its 12.4 billion euro acquisition by General Electric.

French officials also insisted Nokia preserve jobs in France when it struck a 15.6 billion euro deal in April to buy rival Alcatel-Lucent, creating the world's biggest supplier of mobile phone network equipment.

Areva shares finished the day gaining 2.21 percent to 8.94 euros, but are still way down from over 16 euros they fetched before the magnitude of its problems became clear. EDF shares slumped 2.76 percent to 21.17 euros.




Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Nuclear Power News - Nuclear Science, Nuclear Technology
Powering The World in the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Technical problem shuts down Slovenian nuclear plant
Ljubljana (AFP) June 4, 2015
Slovenia's only nuclear plant Krsko said Thursday it has initiated a preventive shutdown over technical problems in the system for monitoring the temperature. "We have detected technical problems in the system for monitoring the temperature of the primal reactor's cooling," the Krsko nuclear plant said in a statement. It added that "the technical problem has no impact at all on the plant ... read more

Dutch 'paddy power' pulls electricity from rice fields

BESC, Mascoma develop revolutionary microbe for biofuel production

Food or fuel? How about both?

A model for bioenergy feedstock/vegetable double-cropping systems

Pinholes be gone say Japanese solarcell researchers

Solar Impulse to be stuck for a week in Japan for repairs

Nyserda charts news ways to support Large Scale Renewables

Solar Impulse gets inside mobile hangar in Japan

Why do consumers participate in wind energy programs

Ikea invests 600 mln euros to be energy independent by 2020

Germany's E.ON building wind energy portfolio

Tri Global Energy Leads Texas in Wind Energy Development Projects

Roadside air can be more charged than under a high-voltage power line

Japan PM to pledge 26% greenhouse gas cut

Six energy companies call for carbon pricing

Fukushima operator wins Qatar utility contract

A clear look at an efficient energy converter

World's smallest spirals could guard against identity theft

Chemists discover key reaction process in sodium-oxygen battery

Giant structures called plasmoids could simplify the design of future tokamaks

Astronomers Discover a Young Solar System Around a Nearby Star

Circular orbits identified for small exoplanets

Weather forecasts for planets beyond our solar system

Astrophysicists offer proof that famous image shows forming planets

Limited network consolidation on U.S. Navy ships completed

Raytheon opens maritime subsidiary

Lockheed Martin C4ISR system for new CG cutter

Indian wants cooperation with Russia to build nuclear subs

United Arab Emirates Hopes to Reach Mars by2021

NASA Begins Testing Next Mars Lander Insight

The Supreme Council of Parachute Experts

Science Drives NASA's Journey to Mars

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.