July 8, 2008

EDF, GDF-Suez Interest in New French Nuclear Plant Could Hamper UK Plans

The two most influential energy groups in France, EDF and GDF-Suez, are expected to compete against each other in a bid to build the country's newest nuclear power plant, possibly having negative implications for the UK's planned nuclear revival, reported The Guardian.

The news source reported that both the French energy groups have expressed their interest to participate in the construction of the second-generation European pressurized reactor (EPR), with EDF already having access to several potential sites.

The GDF-Suez group has reportedly expressed interest and will decide by 2009 if it will go ahead with the bidding process for the latest French EPR-based nuclear power plant. Industry analysts are certain of the energy group's involvement, given its stated ambition of expanding its nuclear activities in France and Belgium.

EDF, which is thought to be the front-runner for the UK-based nuclear power generator British Energy, is considering whether to increase its offer to acquire the British company.

Industry sources say that EDF's interest in the possible takeover of British Energy is diminishing, given its reluctance to bid higher than the GBP7 being sought by the British nuclear power generator's shareholders.

The news source noted that the latest developments in France combined with the possibility of EDF shelving plans for British Energy could hinder the UK's nuclear renaissance.