EDF boss stresses UK nuclear commitment

The boss of French nuclear giant EDF’s UK arm, Vincent de Rivaz, has said the UK is “demonstrating consistency and continuity” in its nuclear policy.

And he also stressed that EDF (Euronext: EDF) is committed to building new plants in the UK following the withdrawal of RWE and E.ON from the Horizon nuclear programme.

Vincent de Rivaz EDF, in partnership with British Gas owner Centrica, has invested £650m so far in proposals to build new nuclear power stations in the UK, beginning with Hinkley Point.

De Rivaz said: The current, and I hope temporary, uncertainty around Horizon puts even more emphasis on getting Hinkley Point across the finish line.” He said he hoped that this would be done by the end of the year and vowed: “We will not be distracted.”

If there be to be a distraction to EDF’s plans, it is likely to come from its home country, where the energy industry is waiting to see what plans new president Francois Hollande has for the nuclear sector.

Any proposals for early decommissioning will hit the pockets of EDF – it was this scenario following the Merkel government’s decision to abandon nuclear that left RWE and E.ON without the cash to carry on with the Horizon project.

And de Rivaz said that any potential buyer of Horizon – and talk so far has centred around interest from Russia and China – must have a “need to protect and nurture four precious attributes for the success of new nuclear in the UK:cross party consensus; widespread public acceptance; a strong, credible and independent safety authority; and an engaged UK supply chain”.

Meanwhile, EDF is to open visitor centres for all of its nuclear power plants in the UK, in a move it says will improve public accessibility.

“EDF Energy is committed to improving the transparency and openness surrounding our nuclear operations,” said Jim Crawford, Sizewell B power station director, adding that he expects 7500 and 10,000 visitors each year.

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