EDF’s board is expected to approve the takeover of General Electric’s (GE) nuclear activities on Monday, before Emmanuel Macron visits Belfort on Thursday about the role of atoms in France.
The U.S. group negotiated with the French electrician for months under pressure from an executive with a particular focus on the documents.
Seven years after GE’s controversial takeover of Alstom’s energy unit, pushed by then Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron, its nuclear activities could be brought back to the confines of the French group as a result of the restart of the national nuclear programme Inside.
In the spring of 2021, in the context of the social plan announced by GE’s nuclear division, Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that he was looking for a “French solution for the Arabelle turbine” produced in the United States, in order to “ensure the uniqueness of this asset, as well as its Accompanying skills that are critical to our energy future.”
“Such an action will strengthen the EDF’s ability to build the future of our energy system and will fully meet our industrial ambitions to support this strategic sector,” he also explained during formal discussions between the two groups in September.
Four months later, the two groups agreed that EDF would pay $273 million for the turbine business, including $73 million in debt, according to Les Echos.
– Nuclear renaissance –
Several sources told AFP that the EDF board meeting will be held at the end of Monday.
If the agenda has not been officially confirmed by EDF and Bercy, it comes as President Emmanuel Macron plans a “nuclear-themed” trip in Belfort on Thursday, the Elysee Palace said.
The Territory hosts the main site for GE Steam Power Systems (GEAST). The Arabel turbines for French nuclear power plants are made there.
At a meeting of the Central Social and Economic Council on Friday, EDF chief Jean-Bernard Lévy, who was questioned by elected officials, expressed concern about a possible soon, according to union sources at AFP. End the document “very evasive”.
EDF’s financial capacity was also strained and was reluctant at first, with a source familiar with the matter recalling that the company’s job was to produce and sell electricity as an “architect assembler” for power plants, rather than parts manufacturing business. “They have no industrial logic because they can let GEAST and Siemens compete and take advantage of costs,” she explained.
But with the acquisition, EDF in return was given the green light for turbine orders, or “billions of euros”, to be renewed at the end of the useful life of France’s nuclear fleet, it added.
Emmanuel Macron announced in early November that France was preparing to start construction of the reactor, 20 years after the last reactor was commissioned, but he has since provided no details about the project.
The EDF has submitted a proposal to the state to build six EPR2 reactors (an improved version of the EPR) for around 50 billion euros.
Its chief executive has consistently said it is “urgent” to take “concrete action”.
The government has mentioned a first trial run of EPR2 “in 2035-2037”, but has not yet detailed an outline for these future projects.
The president was supposed to speak Thursday in Belfort, home of the energy-producing industry, to talk about decarbonization, energy and make a statement on nuclear power, according to sources familiar with the matter.
France, which generates about 70% of its electricity from atoms, a world record, is currently building just one EPR reactor on its land, the one at Flamanville (Manche), which has faced numerous setbacks, delays and budget delays.