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French nuclear group total losses $5.3bn in 2014

On Wednesday, French nuclear group Areva announced it had lost a record $5.3 billion in 2014 due to costs incurred from project delays.

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP), the majority state-owned Power Company said that it will be announcing a financial plan at the end of the month and added that it would generate savings estimated at $1 billion (ZAR12 billion).

Areva CEO Philippe Knoche said in a statement that: “The scale of the net loss for 2014 illustrates the two-fold challenge confronting Areva: continuing stagnation of the nuclear operations, lack of competitiveness and difficulties in managing the risks inherent in large projects”.

The Areva-Siemens consortium endured construction delays of the Olkiluoto 3 nuclear plant in Finland. The nuclear project began construction in 2005 and was said to only come into operation by 2016.

In addition to the nuclear hurdles, the nuclear company was left with impairment charges connected to the refurbishment of its uranium conversion plant in France, the Comurhex II project.

Nuclear projects and objections in South Africa

The South African government has recently signed nuclear deals with China, Russia and France in attempts to increase the country’s power production to meet the increasing energy demand.

Environmental group Greenpeace filed legal documents against the department of energy last week compelling the energy minister to update the nation’s nuclear regulations, giving consideration to financial security  of nuclear license holders.

Greenpeace Africa executive director Michael O’Brien Onyeka said in a press statement: “The fact that the South African government is pushing ahead with controversial plans for new nuclear investments, means that it is critical for the country’s liability regime to be carefully scrutinized so that at a minimum, the maximum of amount protection is given to the citizens of this country, and the liability for a nuclear accident lies firmly with the holders of nuclear licenses.”

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.