French nuclear future uncertain under new president

The election of François Hollande as president of France has led to uncertainty about the future of the nuclear power sector in the country.

During his campaign Hollande, who takes over from Nicolas Sarkozy, had pledged to reduce France’s dependence on nuclear power.

Nuclear Engineering International reports that the new president wanted to reduce the share of nuclear energy in the power supply to 50 per cent from 75 per cent by 2025, and promised to close the ageing Fessenheim nuclear plant.

If Hollande is good to his word it could mean difficult times for the nuclear sector for firms such as EDF and Areva.

“A victory by Francois Hollande in the French Presidential election means a more uncertain outlook for EDF than under a maintained Sarkozy government. With the campaign promise to shut the Fessenheim nuclear plant in the next five years, there is now an earnings overhang on our forecasts,” analysts from Goldman Sachs told the Wall Street Journal.

Shares in EDF were down 3 per cent on the news of Hollande’s victory.

The French nuclear regulator, ASN, has given EDF permission to run the 900 MW Fessenheim 1 reactor for a further ten years provided it carries out works to improve the reactor building foundations before June 2013.

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