EDF needs an updated regulatory framework to build new reactors, according to CEO

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View of the reactor buildings at the Tricastin nuclear power plant site in Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux, France, June 27, 2019. Photo taken on June 27, 2019. REUTERS / Benjamin Mallet // File Photo

PARIS, November 10 (Reuters) – EDF will need an adapted regulatory framework to be able to build new nuclear reactors in France, CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy said on Wednesday, while warmly welcoming President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to relaunch the construction of new reactors.

Speaking on Tuesday, Macron did not specify the number or type of units envisaged, nor their funding. Read more Government spokesman Gabriel Attal told franceinfo that Macron will provide more details in the coming weeks.

The nuclear industry has been advocating for six new EPR-type reactors at three sites in France for several years. EDF estimated in 2019 that the project would cost at least 46 billion euros (53 billion dollars).

“EDF has worked a lot with the nuclear sector to be able to say that we are ready,” Levy told a Senate committee, adding that the electrician would in any case concentrate on the existing sites for the reactors.

“It is clear that (construction) cannot be done if we do not have the (right) working environment, the regulatory framework, the funding that will allow us to do it,” he said, adding that EDF was studying the means of financing. new reactors with the French State.

In July, the government suspended plans to overhaul EDF and new French nuclear regulations, intended in particular to give the group the means to invest. The plan had been caught up in feuds with the European Commission and had been criticized by unions.

Levy said discussions with Brussels on this topic are expected to resume within the next 12 months.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio that France would “have a massive need for electricity” and that the number of reactors to be built will depend on its ambition.

“How much will we need? Is it six, is it eight, is it ten? I can’t tell you,” he said.

The construction of new generation reactors could allow France to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 at a controllable cost, estimated last month the operator of the RTE electricity network. Read more

($ 1 = € 0.8648)

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, written by Ingrid Melander, editing by Andrei Khalip

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