EDF disputes French nuclear waste agency estimates on costs

EDF’s shares plunged to an all-time low on Tuesday after estimates on the cost of nuclear waste storage released by the French national radioactive waste agency were released.

The company, headed by Jean-Bernard Levy dispute the findings made by Andra that storage costs could be higher than EDF‘s estimates but the news saw shares drop to as much as 7.3 percent before closing down 4.4 percent at 11.96 euros.
JB Levy
Andra said costs for the Cigeo deep geological storage project could be as high as 30 billion euros or as low as 20 billion depending on assumptions about different cost factors in coming years.

“There are different views on the calculation, more or less conservative, depending on estimates for future technological progress and optimisation,” Andra said in a statement.

However in a letter to the energy ministry, posted on the ministry’s website, EDF, fellow state-controlled company Areva and the CEA (Atomic Energy Authority) said they estimated the cost at around 20 billion euros.

“Andra’s study only took into account a small number of possible optimisations,” they said in the letter, adding that a certain number of costs and ratios used by the state agency were not in line with their experience. “We are waiting for a decision of the energy minister on the cost of storage,” an EDF spokesman said.

The energy ministry’s decision on the 10 billion-euro gap in estimates could have a huge impact on the already stretched balance sheet of EDF, whose 58 nuclear power plants produce the bulk of France’s nuclear waste.

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