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EDF to exit US nuclear power over impact of shale gas via Financial Times

EDF, the world’s biggest producer of nuclear-powered electricity, is to pull out of nuclear production in the US, citing the “revolution” in US energy markets caused by the advent of shale gas.

But Henri Proglio, chief executive of the French group, said the drop in prices caused by shale gas had “no significant impact” on plans to build new nuclear capacity in Britain, where EDF is locked in long-running negotiations with the government over terms for constructing new atomic power stations.

“We continue to work with the British government and expect to have a decision by the end of the year,” Mr Proglio said, declining to give more details.

He was speaking as EDF, boosted by the effects of a cold winter in its main European markets, reported a better than expected 6 per cent like-for-like growth in core earnings and raised its forecast for the full year to growth of at least 3 per cent, from a range of 0-3 per cent.

EDF, majority owned by the French state, announced that it was pulling out of CENG, its joint venture in the US with Exelon which operates five nuclear plants. Exelon will take over operation of the CENG plants while EDF will exercise a put option to sell its 49.9 per cent stake in the venture between 2016 and 2022. EDF will also receive an immediate special dividend of $400m.

The French company, which operates France’s 58 nuclear plants, had originally planned to build four new nuclear plants in the US. But Mr Proglio said the prospects for nuclear power in the US had been hit by “a true revolution” caused by the exploitation of shale deposits, which had “completely reshaped the landscape of electric power generation in favour of gas”.

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