EDF takes over British Energy for 15.7 billion €

The French national utility Electricité de France – known as EDF – is beginning to take over the UK company British Energy for an estimated cost of 15.7 billion Euros (or $23 billion).

According to the Financial Times quoted below, this is the largest international expansion plan for EDF. The company plans to build at least four nuclear plants on British soil in the next years.

This occurs as John Hutton, UK Business Secretary, says his country needs rapidly new nuclear plants to keep on answering to the increasing demand.

On the take over, and according to the Financial Times :

The takeover of British Energy, confirmed on Wednesday, is EDF’s biggest international expansion. It will give EDF almost all the UK’s nuclear power stations and control over most of the best sites for building more, giving it a dominant position for the planned revival of the UK’s nuclear industry. It hopes to build at least four nuclear plants, the first to come on line by the end of 2017.

(…) The UK government, which controls about 35 per cent of British Energy’s equity, has long backed EDF’s bid as the solution most likely to provide the expertise to develop nuclear power in Britain.

(…) The deal will be concluded only after EDF’s purchase of British Energy and will have to await necessary regulatory approvals, most significantly from the competition authorities in Brussels.

Now comes another article from Clean Technica a great website on all green energy sources and technologies (It joins my lists of related blogs today) :

According to sources that obtained an advance copy of Hutton’s scheduled speech to the UK’s new Nuclear Development Forum, here are some of the things that he plans to say:

  • UK will press “all buttons” to get nuclear built
  • nuclear is a “no-brainer” because it contributes to energy security and job creation
  • “insecure international sources underline the case for a diverse mix”
  • “determined to get nuclear up and running as soon as possible”
  • nuclear industry could create 100,000 new direct jobs (…)

There are several factors pushing the UK government’s rapidly growing interest in building new nuclear power plants.

  • Natural gas production in the North Sea is falling more rapidly than expected.
  • Russia is a major European gas supplier, but its reliability is increasingly in question.
  • Iran is another big gas supplier to Europe with questionable reliability.
  • Alternative energy programs are not delivering power as rapidly as expected.
  • Carbon emissions concerns have changed the status of coal as an energy fuel.
  • Existing UK nuclear plants have a limited life remaining. (Note: It is possible to extend the life of these facilities.)

I think it is a good thing for the UK to push forward nuclear as it is one of the least greenhouse gases emitting solution to provide quantities of electricity.

As a matter of fact, nuclear emits up to 50 time less greenhouse gases than coal, and thus competes with renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy.

Edit for further details : Currently, UK electricity is made of 71 percent fossil fuels, 20 percent nuclear, and the remaining percent are brought by renewables, hydro contributing to about 1.5 percent. Source : www.carma.org

And you, what do you think about that ? Do you think it is the right thing to do for the United Kingdom ?

In any case, be sure that I will keep you posted on other large nuclear and renewables projects. So for this and for much more, stay tuned !

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