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France to Announce Second EPR Nuclear Plant - Paper

Date: 04-Jul-08
Country: FRANCE

A spokesman for Areva and the president's office declined to comment. French power group EDF said it would be ready to take part in the construction of a second EPR plant if the government wished to go ahead with the project.

"If the government took the decision to build a second EPR... EDF would be ready to answer this call," a spokeswoman for EDF said.

Shares in Areva, the French nuclear power group, rose 1.50 percent morning trade while those in EDF were off 1.84 percent.

Sarkozy would make the announcement around midday (1000 GMT) when he visits the Creusot site in eastern France owned by steelmaker Arcelor Mittal, where components for nuclear plants are made, the paper said.

Sarkozy would be accompanied by the head of Areva, Anne Lauvergeon, it added.

A start date for the construction of the second EPR, a "third generation" reactor design has yet to be decided, but according to Les Echos, the plant could start operating around 2017.

Last month, Prime Minister Francois Fillon said the government was considering building a second EPR plant.

EDF began construction of a first 1,650-megawatt new generation reactor in Flamanville in northwestern France last year. Work is expected to last another four years with production scheduled to start in 2012.

France is Europe's top producer of nuclear power, which generates 80 percent of its electricity.

Environmental group Greenpeace has denounced what it called the "absurd" idea of building a new EPR reactor.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, Dominique Vidalon, editing by Paul Bolding and Jason Neely)

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