Paris – France’s energy transition law could force state-controlled utility EDF to close up a third of its 58 nuclear reactors by 2025, state audit office said in annual report on Wednesday.
The Cour des Comptes estimates reduction of the share of nuclear in French energy production to 50 per cent from 75 per cent now could lead to the closure of 17 to 20 reactors.
The condition would hold if power consumption and exports remain at current levels.
“Only a very significant increase of electricity use or power exports could limit the number of closures but experts do not expect this will happen,” the auditor said.
It said that this could impact on jobs at EDF and raise the possibility that the utility might demand state compensation.
The auditor said the impact of the law will have to be evaluated within the framework of the multi-annual energy plan.
Energy Minister, Segolene Royal is set to present the plan by the end of this month.[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”70560″]
In a written answer to the auditor, Royal said that its estimates were based on a highly uncertain outlook for energy consumption.
The auditor also said that it estimates the cost of upgrading EDF’s ageing nuclear power stations will total some 100 billion euros (112.79 billion dollars) over the 2014-2030 periods.
This estimate is well above EDF’s 55 billion euro estimate for the 2014-2025 periods, which the auditor said was due to the fact that it includes EDF’s operating expenses.
EDF has repeatedly said it wanted to keep its nuclear power stations at the current capacity level.
It expects that the reduction of the share of nuclear in the French energy mix will come from growing demand, not from closing reactors.
Presently, EDF plans to close its nuclear plant in Fessenheim, near the German border, in 2018, when it expects its new Flamanville reactor on the Normandy coast to start operating. ((Reuters/NAN)