French utility EDF has launched a nine-billion-euro offer for British Energy, adjusting its bid to control Britain’s nuclear power industry after months of negotiating. EDF has predicted the deal would lead to cost savings of 200 million euros and lift group earnings in 2009.
Pierre Gadonneix, CEO of EDF, said: “It is my conviction that in these following years, Great Britain is the European country that will develop the most nuclear power plants. “And it would be for two reasons, the first being that it is the European country that is in dire need of it as it currently faces a shortage in energy supply. The second reason being that the British government with Tony Blair at first [sic] and then Gordon Brown, chose the path of nuclear energy.”
The British government, which did not want British Energy to fall into the hands of a single owner, welcomed the deal, describing it as good value and a significant step towards the building of a new generation of nuclear plants.
John Hutton, the Business Secretary, said: “This is the largest ever direct foreign investment, 25 billion pounds for UK. It’s going to begin the process of moving the nuclear debate forward in a very substantial way, four new major nuclear reactors for the UK, helping to fill the energy gap.”
Prime minister Gordon Brown’s administration has made building a new generation of nuclear power stations a central part of its plans to tackle climate change and reduce Britain’s reliance on imported oil and gas, as energy demand increases and natural resources diminish.