The main French and Italian utilities have founded their joint venture company for new reactors in Italy while raising billions from bond issues, apparently to fund the projects.
Sviluppo Nucleare Italia is the name of the new Rome-based company set up today by Enel with its 50-50 partner Electricité de France (EdF). It translates as 'Developing Italian Nuclear'. In line with their agreement, the firm is to conduct feasibility studies into constructing four 1650 MWe Areva EPR units at new sites in Italy. If new build proves feasible, separate project companies will be set up to execute build, own and operate the new power plants.
But development comes at a price - the news comes just one working day after Enel announced in its half-year report that it would issue up to €10 billion ($14.3 billion) in bonds before the end of next year. For its part EdF raised €3.3 billion ($4.7 billion) through the issue of bonds in mid-July in common with several other issuances which have helped to fund its construction of an EPR at Flamanville as well as the purchases of British Energy and a near-50% stake in Constellation.
|The current state of the EPR under construction at Flamanville. Enel
has a 12.5% stake in this one, and the same in the forthcoming
Penly 3, also in France. If things go according to plan the Italian
utility should have 50% stakes in four more at home (Image: EdF)
The quick moves from the companies are in synch with those from government. It was at a Franco-Italian summit in February that the EdF-Enel deal was first announced and the founding of this company comes less than one month after the change in Italian law that made it possible. After many years of prohibition, nuclear power now enjoys strong political support in Italy with leaders hoping it will be able to generate 25% of electricity by 2030 and significantly reduce both power and fuel imports.
The eight-member board of the new company will consist of four from Enel while the four from EdF will include the chair and vice chair. One of Enel's appointees will be CEO.