EdF seeks to bolster decommissioning fund

22 July 2010

Electricité de France (EdF) is considering allocating half of its Réseau de Transport d’Electricité (RTE) power grid to a portfolio of assets set up to fund the decommissioning of its nuclear power reactors. Meanwhile, RTE said that the security of France's power supply should be guaranteed until 2013. 


State-controlled EdF generates and supplies most of the electricity used in France, while also controlling the transmission grid operator RTE. The primary source for EdF's electricity is a fleet of 58 nuclear reactors, while other sources include hydro and gas. Under 2006 legislation, EdF must build up a portfolio of dedicated assets that would enable the company to meet the future costs of decommissioning existing reactors as well as radioactive waste storage.


The company stated that, as of the end of December 2009, the total amount invested in these dedicated assets stood at €11.4 billion ($14.7 billion). This is broken down as follows: 37% stocks, 51% bonds and 12% closed-end funds and money market funds.


"In order to reduce the volatility of the portfolio in the build up phase, EdF is considering an investment in infrastructure assets, providing steady dividends that would enable to meet very long term liabilities," Edf said. "It is against this background that EdF is studying the possibility to allocate 50% of RTE to its dedicated assets portfolio." The company stressed that, should it decide to go ahead with the allocation, RTE would remain 100% owned by EdF.


Power demand to be met 


Meanwhile, RTE has updated its forecast analysis of the electricity supply-demand balance to 2015, saying the security of France's power supply should be guaranteed until 2013, thanks to the planned development of new generating facilities. By 2015, RTE estimates that French electricity demand will be 506 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year, up from 486 TWh in 2009.


RTE noted: "By 2015, the commissioning of combined cycle gas plants currently under construction and the EPR reactor at Flamanville will compensate for the planned closure of some of the country's coal-fired facilities and the likely erosion of the combined heat and power (CHP) fleet." It said, "Both in France and across Europe, EU environmental standards will mean the closure of a sizeable number of the oldest thermal plants by 2015."


With regards to nuclear energy, RTE expects all 58 reactors currently in operation to still be operating in 2015, while the first marketable electric generation from the new 1650 MWe EPR at Flamanville is expected in 2013. Total installed nuclear generating capacity in France is expected to increase from 63.1 gigawatts (GW) in 2010 to 64.7 GW in 2015.


However, RTE says that by 2015 there could be a shortfall in total generating capacity of over 3 GWe.


Researched and written 

by World Nuclear News