From the very excellent http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo90.pdf
EDF faces a seemingly impossible financial equation. It has colossal debt of €37 billion; it must
deal with the complex €2.5 billion takeover of Areva; and find the money to extend the life of its
58 reactors at costs estimated between €60 and €100 billion up to 2030.
Meanwhile EDF has been accused by Greenpeace France of grossly underestimating the cost of
nuclear electricity. Greenpeace claimed that if EDF disclosed the true cost of running its fleet of
reactors in France while financing two new ones in the UK, it would be declared bankrupt.
Greenpeace commissioned an audit by AlphaValue, the equity research company. The French
government has agreed to inject €3 billion into the group this year and has renounced dividend
payments until next year. Shares in EDF, 85% of which are owned by the French state, have lost
almost a third of their value in the past year and the company is no longer listed on the Paris
blue -chip index.
The AlphaValue report described EDF as an “uncompetitive firm-incapable of reacting rapidly
and efficiently to the variations in electricity needs and the changes created by the liberalisation of
European markets”. It said that EDF’s rivals had written down the value of their nuclear plants
because of the move to renewable energy and the fall in electricity prices and that EDF had
failed to follow suit. Juan Camilo Rodriguez, author of the report, said the company might have
to close 17 of its 58 French reactors to meet the government’s requirement that nuclear power
should provide 50 per cent of the nation’s electricity in 2025, down from 75 per cent now.
“ The provisions to safeguard the burden of financing the decommissioning of the French reactors
are far from sufficient. [If 17 are closed], the group should increase its provisions by more than €
20 billion.” Mr Rodriguez said the cost of handling nuclear waste added at least €33.5 billion to
that figure. “
Whatever scenario is retained, an adjustment of the nuclear provisions . . . would lead to the bankruptcy of EDF from an accountancy point of view,” he added. The report said that EDF would need to find a further €165 billion during the next decade to finance projects such as Hinkley Point and the renovation of reactors in France. EDF says it will spend €51 billion renovating its reactors and £12billion on Hinkley Point. A spokesman for EDF accused AlphaValue of making erroneous calculations that failed to take account of long – term electricity price movements and differences between France and other European markets.
Greenpeace filed a complaint against EDF and its CEO, Jean – Bernard Lévy, for “stock trading
offences “at the end of November and EDF responded by suing the group for making “false
allegations”. Greenpeace has asked the public prosecutor “to open a preliminary investigation or
to appoint an investigating judge”, saying that “shareholders, investors but also French citizens
are being misled by EDF and its CEO”.
According to Stéphane L’homme, Directeur de l’Observatoire du nucléaire : “In summary, the
French nuclear fleet is at the end of its course, dilapidated and dotted with deficient parts. At the
same time, the finances of EDF are in such a deplorable state that the company could soon join Areva in bankruptcy, and is in any case unable to properly maintain its reactors.”