December 11, 2017 / 6:09 PM / 2 years ago

EDF wants to take part in Saudi nuclear plans: CEO

French state-controlled utility EDF Chief Executive Jean-Bernard Levy attends a news conference at their headquarters in Paris, France, December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French state-controlled utility EDF (EDF.PA) wants to take part in Saudi Arabia’s plans to build nuclear power reactors, its chief executive told Reuters on Monday.

Saudi Arabia, which wants to reduce oil consumption at home, is considering building 17.6 gigawatts of nuclear-powered electricity generating capacity by 2032 and has sent a request for information to international suppliers to build two reactors.

Sources familiar with the situation said last month EDF has already held talks with Saudi Arabia about selling Areva-designed European Pressurized Reactors (EPR) and that it wants to participate in a possible Saudi nuclear tender.

Levy said that EDF wants to take part in the country’s move away from relying on fossil fuels for its energy supplies.

“We will respond to this opportunity in all the energy technologies in which we have competencies, that is in solar, wind and nuclear,” Levy said.

Russian and South Korean companies have already said they plan to bid for the Saudi work on nuclear power while sources have said Toshiba-owned U.S. firm Westinghouse (6502.T) is in talks with U.S. peers to form a bidding consortium.

In 2009 EDF and Areva lost out to South Korea’s KEPCO (052690.KS) in the bidding to build nuclear reactors in the United Arab Emirates, the first such project in the Middle East.

EDF is set to buy French nuclear group Areva’s reactor engineering division Areva NP in a deal expected to be finalised before the end of this year. Levy said EDF is on track to finalize the deal before the end of this month.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Greg Mahlich

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