* EDF reactor unit takes back old Framatome name
* France hopes Framatome will sell nuclear reactors abroad
* New name marks end of restructuring started in 2015 (Adds Framatome, Cogema detail)
PARIS, Jan 4 (Reuters) - French utility EDF integrated the nuclear reactor business of fellow state-owned group Areva and resurrected the unit’s old name Framatome.
Framatome will be 75.5 percent owned by EDF, 19.5 percent by Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and 5 percent by engineering group Assystem.
It now employs 14,000 staff, designs and builds nuclear plants, sells nuclear fuel rods, and provides maintenance to more than 250 of about 440 reactors worldwide.
Framatome said in a statement it would have an international strategy but did not give sales targets. Before restructuring, Areva had forecast it would sell 10 of its flagship European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) worldwide by 2016.
Formed in 1958, Framatome built France’s fleet of 58 nuclear reactors and was merged with nuclear fuel group Cogema to form Areva in 2001 with the aim of creating a world-leading company.
Amid hopes for a nuclear renaissance in 2006-2007, Areva sold four EPRs in France, Finland and China, but a decade later they are all years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget.
Heavy losses due to these delays, an African uranium mine investment gone awry and a dearth of orders following the 2011 Fukushima disaster wiped out Areva’s equity and in 2015 the government decided to split up Areva in a state-led rescue.
EDF has said it is in talks with Saudi Arabia, South Africa and India about selling reactors, although delays at ongoing projects weigh on its export ambitions.
Late 2017, Chinese utility CGN again delayed the start-up of two EPRs in Taishan, west of Hong Kong, the first one from late 2017 to 2018, the second one from first-half 2018 to 2019.
An EPR under construction in Flamanville, France is set to start up end 2018, also years behind schedule.
Construction of the first EPR in Olkiluoto, Finland, started in 2005 and was set to be completed by 2009. In October 2017, the project was again delayed to May 2019.
EDF has also started work on two EPRs in Hinkley Point, Britain, with the first unit scheduled produce power by 2025.
In July, EDF said the Hinkley Point budget had increased by 1.5 billion pounds to stand at 19.6 billion ($26.5 billion) and said there was a risk of delay for both units. ($1 = 0.7383 pounds) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Matthias Blamont and David Evans)
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