(Adds detail on mining, nuclear fuel, outlook)
PARIS, April 25 (Reuters) - French nuclear group Areva SA said first-quarter revenue jumped 12.5 percent to 2.28 billion euros ($2.97 billion) as strength in uranium mining offset slow growth in its reactor business and falling revenue from uranium enrichment.
Mining revenue rose 26 percent on a restated basis and 44 percent on a comparable basis to 395 million euros as uranium sales rose strongly and average contract sales prices increased, it said on Thursday.
Revenue at the firm’s nuclear fuel recycling division soared nearly 50 percent to 566 million euros as deliveries originally scheduled for the end of 2012 were postponed to early 2013.
But its core reactors and services unit’s revenue rose only 3.2 percent to 799 million euros as sales associated with the much-delayed European pressurized water reactors (EPR) under construction in Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flamanville, France, were down.
Uranium enrichment revenue dropped 12.6 percent to 378 million due to unfavorable delivery schedules.
The reactor division saw increased demand for safety improvement solutions in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, including the supply of emergency diesel generator units in China and emergency services equipment in the United States.
But the shadow of the accident still hovers over Areva and its peers. Order cancellations since the accident totaled 1 billion euros at the end of March, compared with 936 million euros at the end of 2012.
The company’s order book backlog was virtually stable at 44.9 billion euros.
Areva has not sold a new reactor since 2007, when China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp in Taishan bought two EPRs, but Areva Chief Executive Luc Oursel still hopes to sell 10 reactors by 2016.
Its exclusion from a Finnish nuclear tender in February dealt another blow to the reputation of its EPR reactor and raised questions about France’s ambitious nuclear export plans.
Areva also said on Thursday it had signed an agreement with China to build a nuclear fuel recycling facility there and raised the possibility of building a new reactor type with the Chinese. It gave no timetable or financial details.
Areva’s shares rose 8.7 percent.
Areva did not release profit data on Thursday. In February, it posted a 99 million euro ($129 million) loss, narrowing from a 2.5 billion loss in 2011.
Areva said that based on first-quarter revenues, it was able to confirm its growth objectives for 2013. In February, the group said it expected operating cash flow to return to breakeven in 2013. ($1 = 0.7689 euros) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)