France’s EDF sees no need to close problematic nuclear reactors


French energy group EDF said that it would not for the moment need to close nuclear reactors due to welding problems that sent shares tumbling earlier this month.

“At this stage of the technical investigations being carried out on these components, EDF believes that the observed deviations do not adversely affect the components’ fitness for service and do not require immediate action,” the group, which is majority owned by the French state, said in a statement on Wednesday.

The news sent EDF shares up 2.3 per cent as markets opened in Paris.

EDF said it had identified issues with “16 steam generators installed on six operating reactor units: reactors no. 3 and 4 at Blayais, reactor no. 3 at Bugey, reactor no. 2 at Fessenheim, reactor no. 4 at Dampierre-en-Burly and reactor no. 2 at Paluel”.

It added that some components “that are not yet in service are the four steam generators and the pressuriser at the Flamanville-3 EPR, as well as 3 new steam generators that have not yet been installed and that were manufactured for the purpose of replacing the steam generators on reactor units no. 5 and 6 at Gravelines”.

The components in question are made by Framatome, EDF’s majority-owned nuclear reactor construction unit.

EDF is engaged in conversations with the French government to come up with a restructuring plan for the group to help it fund investment in both nuclear and renewable energy, as well as allowing it to push for a new regulated price for nuclear energy that need to be approved by Brussels.

As it stands, the plan, which must still be formally presented to and signed off by the government, is to create a government-owned group, EDF Bleu, containing the nuclear as well as hydroelectric assets. Its main subsidiary, EDF Vert, will house renewable energy, the networks and the services businesses and will be listed with some 20 per cent to 40 per cent sold to raise funds.

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