EDF CEO says open to other nuclear partners

PARIS (Reuters) - French power group EDF EDF.PA is open to signing up other partners for its nuclear activities after it struck a deal to sell Centrica CNA.L a stake in its newly-acquired British Energy subsidiary.

Chairman and chief executive Pierre Gadonneix told a conference call with journalists the French group -- the world's biggest operator of nuclear power stations -- was in talks with Enel ENEI.MI, GDF Suez GSZ.PA and E.ON EONGn.DE.

EDF said earlier on Monday it agreed to sell 20 percent of British Energy to Centrica, forming a partnership with the gas group to build a new generation of nuclear power stations in the UK.

“I have always said that we want to have operational control in the development of nuclear, but we are ready to have partners that can go just to 50 percent,” Gadonneix said.

He said that in general in the world energy market there were too many technical models and operators, especially in the United States, and that there was a need for standardisation.

“I believe we are going towards consortia with a clear governance system and one operator, to obtain scale advantages. We have done that in France with Enel, and for (the) Penly I (reactor) I have proposed to do it with Suez-Gaz de France.. I had discussions with E.ON,” he said.

EDF wants to make copies of the new Flamanville 3 European pressurized reactor (EPR) to obtain cost advantages.

“We are talking with E.ON about several subjects, we are also talking about asset swaps and we are talking about the possibility for E.ON to participate in the development of nuclear activities in France, in particular at Penly,” Gadonneix said.

He said the partners had an interest in a capital stake, in access to nuclear power and a technology transfer.

“We are ready to transfer our know-how if in exchange we can create value for EDF, for instance in exchange for assets,” Gadonneix said.

Reporting by Marcel Michelson and Gilles Guillaume; editing by John Stonestreet