EDF May Help Areva Complete Finnish Atomic Reactor, Proglio Says

Electricite de France SA, the world’s biggest nuclear operator, is considering helping to complete an atomic reactor in Finland plagued by delays, cost overruns and a dispute between the supplier and its customer.

The state-run operator of France’s 58 reactors, itself pushing to develop so-called EPR models in Normandy and China, got requests from the builder Areva SA and client Teollisuuden Voima Oyj, Chief Executive Officer Henri Proglio said.

“I have clearly told both sides they have to agree on our involvement,” Proglio said today in Paris after EDF’s earnings. “We aren’t going to play the role of UN peacekeepers.”

Areva, developing the reactor with Siemens AG, and TVO have taken to arbitration billions of euros of claims against each other over construction of the Olkiluoto 3. Building began in 2005 and was originally due for completion in 2009. It was Europe’s first order after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and has been a black mark on the record of construction of EPRs, the showpiece of France’s nuclear industry.

“If they want us to contribute to a technical solution for the reactor we would do it through a mission co-opted by both,” Proglio said. “It would be to find a solution to a problem.” Arbitration would remain the responsibility of the two sides.

Areva CEO Luc Oursel has said there are “incredible difficulties” in its relationship with TVO. The company is a partner with EDF in a plan to develop two EPRs in the U.K.

The Finnish reactor has “specific” problems that can’t be generalized to the EPR, according to Proglio. The work sites at Flamanville in France and Taishan in China are progressing as planned, he said.

“The competition has started,” he said on whether a French or Chinese EPR would be the first of its kind to start up. “I would like it to be Flamanville.”

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