EDF open to partners for future nuclear reactors

Friday, December 12, 2008

FLAMANVILLE, France, Dec 11 (Reuters) - France's main electricity provider EDF, under pressure from cost overruns on a key project, said it was open to work with partners over building new EPR nuclear reactors.

EDF Chairman and Chief Executive Pierre Gadonneix told reporters on Thursday that EDF aimed to have control over the various nuclear energy projects in which it was involved.

"Not only do we want to pilot them, we also want to capitalise on all the EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) plants which we build," he said, during a visit to the EPR site in Flamanville, northwest France.

Gadonneix also reiterated that EDF was sticking to its timetable of a 2012 opening for its Flamanville EPR.

Earlier this month, EDF said the building costs for the EPR reactor in Flamanville would be 20 percent higher than previously estimated.

The EPR reactor which is being built here will cost 4 billion euros ($5.28 billion) at 2008 prices instead of an initially estimated 3.3 billion euros.

The new total cost of the electricity generated is 54 euros per megawatt hour in 2008, instead of the 46 euros announced when the project was launched in May 2006.

The construction cost of a second EPR in France will have to take into account the likely very high increase in component prices at this time horizon as well as the first benefits of a series effect, EDF said.

French state-controlled utility Areva is in the process of building the Olkiluoto EPR plant in Finland, although this project also faces delays.

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