Oil Report

French govt won't call for Areva break-up -paper

PARIS, March 17 (Reuters) - A government study on the future of France's nuclear sector will not call for state-owned Areva CEPFi.PA to be broken up, according to Le Figaro newspaper.

The report will instead call for the government to take on a more active role in co-ordinating and leading the French nuclear sector, especially on projects abroad.

It would also create a so-called high authority or strategic committee for the sector, reporting to the prime minister and then directly to the President, according to the paper.

The report is also expected to call for state-owned utility EDF EDF.PA, which operates France's nuclear reactors that provide the majority of the country's electricity, to take the lead in organising the sector. But it will also call for other companies like GDF Suez GSZ.PA to play a more active role.

The paper said the report will call on EDF to explore buying equipment and working with firms other than Areva. Last week, EDF started talks with Rosatom, a Russian maker of nuclear reactors.

Areva, which builds reactors for utilities around the world, has come under fire since the loss of a key contract in Abu Dhabi last year.

Some critics within and outside the French government questioned whether Areva’s model of being involved in everything from uranium mining to fuel reprocessing makes sense. [ID:nLDE60413X]

After the Abu Dhabi setback, President Nicolas Sarkozy named a commission headed by ex-EDF Chief Executive Francois Roussely to study the French nuclear sector and make recommendations for how it can be strengthened. [ID:nLDE62B1QA] (Editing by David Holmes)