EDF Expects to Find Partners for U.K. Atomic Plans Once Approved

Electricite de France SA, Europe’s biggest power generator, is confident of finding partners to develop nuclear reactors in the U.K. once an agreement is reached with the government on their profitability.

“I am very comfortable with the possibilities of finding partners, some have already come forward,” Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said today. “We will not go ahead without a guarantee on the profitability of our investments.”

EDF today reported the highest output in seven years from its current U.K. reactors, acquired in 2008 when it agreed to buy British Energy Group Plc for 12.5 billion pounds ($19 billion). Proglio’s predecessor Pierre Gadonneix pledged at the time to develop at least four atomic generators from 2017.

The utility is in “intense” talks with U.K. authorities on a price guarantee for nuclear, Proglio said today. “We think they can conclude by the end of the first quarter,” he said.

EDF will consider partners for the projects once the accord is reached and approved by the European Commission, the chief executive said. The utility has already spent 480 million euros ($640 million) on the projects, demonstrating its interest.

Amid the talks with authorities, EDF in December raised the estimated cost of developing its EPR reactor in Normandy to 8.5 billion euros, more than double the initial estimate. It has scheduled the startup for 2016, after initially targeting 2012.

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