EDF withdraws from the race for “small” nuclear reactors in the United Kingdom – 07/10/2024 at 08:10


( AFP / MIGUEL MEDINA )

French energy company EDF, which said last week it was revising plans for its first model of small nuclear reactor (SMR), told AFP on Tuesday that it had dropped out of the race to build the first machines of this type in the United Kingdom.

“EDF remains committed to supporting the development of nuclear power in the United Kingdom,” particularly to extend the life of its traditional power stations in the country and build new ones, a spokesperson for the group said in a statement sent to AFP.

The British government announced in October that six companies had been shortlisted as finalists in a tender to build small nuclear reactors, including Britain’s Rolls Royce and France’s EDF.

The other companies selected are the GE-Hitachi alliance and the Americans Holtec, NuScale Power and Westinghouse.

Less expensive and therefore easier to finance than the conventional Sizewell C and Hinkley Point C power plant projects, both supported by EDF, the small modular reactors should nevertheless still require years of development.

The EDF group, which was due to develop a first model of a small nuclear reactor called Nuward by around 2030, has decided to review its plans in order to work on another design, the group said last week.

“EDF has decided to develop the design of its SMR”, but “remains mobilized to offer” a machine of this same 3rd generation, with “better conditions for success and facilitating technical feasibility”, he indicates, without providing details on the timetable in particular.

The energy company also said in May that it was ready “to work” with the British Conservative government at the time on a possible third mega-nuclear power station project in the country, located in Wales.

The Labour Party, which has just taken power in the United Kingdom, has assured in its programme that “new nuclear power stations, such as Sizewell C and small modular reactors, will play an important role in helping the United Kingdom achieve energy security and clean energy while guaranteeing thousands of quality and skilled jobs”.

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