Areva can push a phew of relief. On the brink of bankruptcy, the nuclear group will be able to receive the French State’s € 4.5 billion. The plan of rescue of Areva SA and NewC , the entity which brings together the activities of the cycle of nuclear energy (extraction and enrichment of uranium, recycling of waste, decommissioning of reactors) has been validated by Brussels. But this validation is conditional on the lifting of two prerequisites. The payment of the 4.5 billion euros depends on the authorization of the sale to EDF of the activity reactors, Areva, and the green light of the French nuclear safety Authority on the commissioning of the vessel of the EPR of Flamanville. The first point should not pose insurmountable p roblems, since Areva and EDF agreed on the price of the activity reactor (Areva NP). EDF has submitted a firm offer for a value of € 2.5 billion. The second point is more delicate. Because the decision of the ASN, will not be known prior to the month of June. In the meantime, the Commission approves a loan in the amount of 3.3 billion euros from Paris to Areva. “This loan, says Brussels, is intended to meet the liquidity needs of Areva until the injections of capital can take place.” Following this decision, Areva will meet tomorrow after-noon, January 11, the board of directors “to set the terms and conditions of the capital increase of Areva SA,” said the group in a press release.
A vital lifeline
The decision of the Commission constitutes a vital lifeline for the former Framatome. This decision, however, was expected. Areva had even anticipated convening a general meeting to the 3 February. “It is in the practice of the Commission and of the Directorate-general for competition to react as well, said an old road corridors in brussels. The State aid is in principle prohibited. But the Commission examines the applications on a case-by-case on a global level, taking into account the entirety of the stakes, whether the stakes-financial, competitive, social… ” These last, month, folder, Areva had made any progress. Thursday, 15 December, director general Philippe Knoche had indicated at the conclusion of the board of directors have received firm offers of 500 million euros, representing 10% of the share capital of NewCo. It is of the offers of the Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited. And this round table could be soon completed by the arrival of the Chinese China National Nuclear Corporation. This same 15 December, Areva had also confirmed the sale of its subsidiary Areva TA (engines of submarines-nuclear) for 500 million euros. And previously other disposals had been completed, including Canberra (measuring radioactivity) and Adwen (renewable).
There remains now the mortgage Flamanville. The decision to allow the vessel of the EPR norman who has too much segregation of carbon depends on the ASN. Last November, Xavier Ursat, the executive director, engineering at EDF had shown so little diplomatic that he did not envisage the possibility of a rejection of the Authority. “It is not in this scenario. There has never been as much testing for this tank. And ASN has validated our program. It may not be a surprise.” The ASN is now under pressure. We would not like to be in the place of its president Pierre-Franck Chevet. Regardless of the opinion that it will make in the coming months, it will be under the fire of criticism. Its decision will depend the future of the first EPR French. But above and beyond that of the EPR uk Hinkley Point (which depends on the good launch of Flamanville) and, in fine, the entire chain of French nuclear.