EDF Energy Nuclear Reactors to Power U.K. Electric Rail Network

EDF Energy Plc, the U.K. unit of Electricite de France SA, won a contract from Network Rail Ltd. to supply power from its nuclear plants to railroads as Britain increases the use of electric trains to cut emissions.

EDF Energy will provide 3.2 terawatt hours of electricity a year for 10 years to power a rail network used by 3 million passengers a day, the company said today in a statement.

Britain is electrifying its rail network to phase out diesel trains, with plans for three-quarters of all passenger miles to be by electric train by 2020. EDF operates eight nuclear power stations in Britain and has proposed to add reactors at sites in Somerset and Suffolk.

Most of the electricity will be used for trains, which now make up 55 percent of rail traffic, according to EDF. Electric trains emit as much as 35 percent less carbon per passenger and are quieter than diesel vehicles, the U.K. Department for Transport says on its website.

Network Rail, which owns and maintains the U.K.’s rail infrastructure, is the biggest electricity consumer in Britain.

The company is working to electrify more than 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) of track, according to EDF.

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