EDF Says China Nuclear Deal Is Transparent

From 4 Traders

A top executive at state-controlled power company Electricite de France SA (>> EDF) said the details of the partnership with Chinese utility China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group, or CGNPC, and French nuclear engineering firm Areva (>> AREVA) to build nuclear reactors is “entirely transparent,” Le Parisien newspaper reported Thursday.

The comments made by EDF’s production director Herve Machenaud come after French weekly Le Canard Enchaine reported earlier this week the French Finance Ministry launched an investigation into the conditions that led EDF’s Chief Executive Henri Proglio to sign a confidential agreement with CGNPC in November 2011. The finance ministry declined to comment when contacted by Dow Jones Newswires. EDF didn’t immediately respond to requests for a comment.

The deal, which was eventually blocked by then center-right Finance Minister Francois Baroin on April 19, three days before the first round of French presidential elections, would have been unfairly weighted in favor of the Chinese partner, Canard Enchaine reported. EDF would have handed over some of France’s advanced atomic capabilities to CGNPC, it added.

Officials at the French Finance Ministry declined to comment.

In Le Parisien newspaper, Mr. Machenaud said the agreement doesn’t imply any risk for French intellectual property. He added he has no information about any possible investigation being carried out on the deal. No officials at EDF were immediately available for comment.

The administration of President Francois Hollande, who was elected in May, asked EDF and Areva to rewrite the agreement with CGNPC and in November the companies announced a three-way agreement to develop a new reactor.

The report from Canard Enchaine came amid speculation that the French government is looking to reshuffle EDF’s top management.

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