PARIS Feb 10 The French government is
considering replacing some of state-controlled utility EDF's
ageing nuclear reactors with European Pressurised
Reactors (EPRs) designed by French group Areva, daily
newspaper Le Monde said on Monday.
Such a move would appear to be at odds with French President
Francois Hollande's pledge to reduce the share of nuclear energy
in electricity generation from 75 percent to 50 percent by 2025
as part of his socialist party's coalition agreement with the
The one EPR under construction, in Flamanville on France's
west coast, is years behind schedule and billions of euros over
budget and Hollande has blocked plans to build a second in
Penly, Normandy. He has also promised to close the Fessenheim
nuclear plant, France's oldest, on the German border.
Le Monde said that several of France's 58 ageing nuclear
reactors are expected to be closed in coming years because
safety upgrades required to extend their life beyond 40 years
will be too costly.
Without citing sources, the paper said that the plan would
be to build new EPR reactors on the sites of closed reactors, to
make use of the existing power transmission infrastructure.
While this would keep nuclear power output at a similar
level, the reduction of nuclear energy as a proportion of total
power output would come from increased power use and population
growth, the paper wrote.
EDF declined to comment, while no one was available to
comment at the energy ministry and presidential palace.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by David Goodman)