The new French president and nuclear power

9 May 2012

The future of nuclear power in France remains uncertain under its forthcoming president François Hollande, who gained 52% of the vote in elections on 6 May 2012– a sufficient majority to unseat the incumbent president Nicolas Sarkozy.

During his campaign Hollande, whose official inauguration date has been set for 15 May, pledged to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear power.

He wanted to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the power supply to 50% from 75% by 2025, and promised to close the ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant. If they go ahead, these moves are likely to hit business linked to the nuclear sector, such as EDF and Areva.

“A victory by Francois Hollande in the French Presidential election means a more uncertain outlook for EDF than under a maintained Sarkozy government. With the campaign promise to shut the Fessenheim nuclear plant in the next five years, there is now an earnings overhang on our forecasts, ” analysts from Goldman Sachs told the Wall Street Journal. Shares in EDF were down 3% on the news of Hollande’s victory.

The French nuclear regulator, ASN, has given EDF permission to run the 900MW Fessenheim 1 reactor for a further ten years provided it carries out works to improve the reactor building foundations before June 2013. An EDF spokesman told Reuters, 7 May, that the company plans to continue with the works.




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