Nuclear giant EDF could be heading towards bankruptcy, writes Paul Brown, as it faces a perfect storm of under-estimated costs for decommissioning, waste disposal and Hinkley C. Meanwhile income from power sales is lagging behind costs, and 17 of its reactors are off-line for safety tests. Yet French and UK governments are turning a blind eye to the looming financial crisis. The liabilities of Électricité de France (EDF) – the biggest electricity supplier in Europe, with 39 million customers – are increasing so fast that they will soon exceed its assets, according a report by an independent equity research company, Bankruptcy for EDF seems inevitable – and if such a vast empire in any other line of business seemed to be in such serious financial trouble, there would be near-panic in the workforce and in governments at the subsequent political fall-out.
Ecologist 8th Dec 2016 read more »
French authorities have opened a preliminary investigation into whether documents were falsified at one of the forges of French nuclear group Areva, which makes parts for nuclear plants across France and the UK. Areva said in May that it was reviewing thousands of manufacturing records for nuclear plant components manufactured over several decades at the Le Creusot forge after finding inconsistencies, modifications or omissions in the documents. French nuclear safety regulator ASN said in October that it had asked the courts to step in to investigate. An investigation was opened on Wednesday, according to people close to the Paris prosecutor’s office. Areva said on Thursday that it had not been informed of the investigation, but that it was ready to co-operate. It is the latest step in a wider investigation into quality-control issues and manufacturing problems at Le Creusot after the ASN in 2014 found that part of a reactor vessel installed at a new reactor that EDF is building in Flamanville may be weaker than expected. EDF has been forced to keep some atomic reactors shut down for months this year at the request of the atomic watchdog. These halts have been compounded by shutdowns resulting from potential weakness in steel of some components at 18 of EDF’s 58 nuclear reactors. The watchdog already authorised the restart of six of these 18 reactors, and approved this week the restart of the 12 remaining units that have either been halted or were soon due to be stopped. This is pending a series of final checks and tests.
FT 8th Dec 2016 read more »
The company that designed Britain’s proposed £18 billion nuclear plant is facing a criminal investigation on suspicion of aggravated fraud, forgery and endangering life. Prosecutors in Paris have opened an inquiry into allegations that a factory owned by Areva, the French nuclear group, has been falsifying safety tests for decades. The factory has already made one key component for the reactors planned at Hinkley Point in Somerset but this was scrapped amid safety fears and a replacement was ordered from Japan. The Hinkley Point reactors were designed by Areva and are being built by EDF, the state-owned company. EDF is poised to take over the factory at the centre of the inquiry, which may be asked to make further components for the Somerset reactors, a Paris source claimed. The Hinkley Point project, in which EDF has a two-thirds stake and China General Nuclear Power Group the remaining third, is designed to produce seven per cent of Britain’s electricity.
Times 9th Dec 2016 read more »
[Machine Translation] Nuclear: Justice wants to shed light on the anomalies in the Areva factory of Creusot. An investigation is opened for the endangerment of another person, forgery and use of forgery and aggravated deception after the discovery of manufacturing anomalies. The Paris public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation to shed light on anomalies in the manufacture of parts of nuclear reactors at the Areva du Creusot plant and on irregularities in the monitoring process, according to a judicial source.
Europe1 8th Dec 2016 read more »
The Paris public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation to shed light on anomalies in the manufacture of parts of nuclear reactors at the Areva plant in Creusot (Saône-et-Loire) and irregularities in the monitoring process. “Endangerment of others, forgery and use of forgery and aggravated deceit” The investigation was opened Wednesday at the Public Health Pole of the Public Prosecution for endangering others, forgery and use of forgery and aggravated deceit. It follows in particular a report by the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) on 20 October.
Le Dauphine 8th Dec 2016 read more »
Wholesale power prices for the first three months of 2017 have plunged in response easing fears over reduced nuclear output in France.
Utility Week 8th Dec 2016 read more »