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EDF Exits US Nuclear Market Due To Shale Revolution

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Hugh Carnegy, Financial Times

EDF, the world’s biggest producer of nuclear-powered electricity, is to pull out of nuclear production in the US, citing the “revolution” in American energy markets caused by the advent of shale gas.

But Henri Proglio, chief executive of the French group, said the drop in prices caused by shale gas had “no significant impact” on plans to build new nuclear capacity in Britain, where EDF is locked in long-running negotiations with the government over terms for constructing new atomic power stations.

“We continue to work with the British government and expect to have a decision by the end of the year,” Mr Proglio said, declining to give more details…

The French company, which operates France’s 58 nuclear plants, had originally planned to build four new nuclear plants in the US. But Mr Proglio said the prospects for nuclear power in the US had been hit by “a true revolution” caused by the exploitation of shale deposits, which had “completely reshaped the landscape of electric power generation in favour of gas”.

However, he said the effects of shale gas would not alter the “well reasoned” long-term decision by successive British governments to opt for new nuclear capacity to help the UK meet carbon emission targets without the lights going out.

EDF, also hit by the retreat from nuclear power in Japan and Germany, is keen to increase capacity in the UK where it already operates existing plants and is a major electricity distributor. But negotiations with the government to build a two new reactors at Hinkley Point in Somerset have been painstaking.

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