EDF May Extend Lives of Fewer Reactors on Energy Law, CEO Says

Electricite de France SA Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy said he is confident existing French nuclear reactors could function beyond four decades, although some may not be refurbished to allow for this.

“I am confident in the ability of EDF and its partners to safely prolong the lives of the fleet to 50 even 60 years,” he said today at a Senate hearing, also noting that reactors in other countries may run even longer.

EDF operates 58 nuclear reactors in France that provide about three-quarters of the country’s power output. The utility is at a crossroads ahead of passage of a law that would curb dependence on atomic power and cap nuclear generating capacity.

Levy, who took the helm in November, confirmed today it would cost 55 billion euros ($64.8 billion) through 2025 to maintain and prolong the lives of all existing reactors. In light of the law, the work may not be carried out on “all the 58 reactors, but two, four or six less, I don’t know,” he said today. Two reactors, possibly at Fessenheim, would have to be closed when EDF starts up a new generator under development in Normandy, he said.

Future studies on power consumption and generation will reveal how realistic it is to lower dependence to half of all output by around 2025, Levy said.

The National Assembly adopted the law last year after a first reading and French senators may vote it down. It could still be pushed through after that, albeit with some changes.

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