EDF shares drop to all-time low since nuclear waste cost estimate increases

13/01/2016 00:34

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Shares in French utility EDF fell to all-time lows on Tuesday after the country's Andra nuclear waste agency declared that storage costs might be more elevated than EDF's predictions, though EDF questioned Andra's figures.

Reflecting German utilities E.ON and RWE, which saw their shares reach decade lows late last year over concerns about nuclear decommissioning costs, shares in EDF dropped as much as 7.3 percent before closing down 4.4 percent at 11.96 euros. A sequence of brokerage price objective downgrades and French forward electricity prices declining to new decade lows only added to the gloom. In a report published late on Monday, Andra stated that costs for the Cigeo deep geological storage project might attain 30 billion euros or 20 billion depending on expectations about various cost factors in the future. In a letter to the energy ministry, displayed on the ministry's website, EDF, fellow state-controlled firm Areva and the CEA (Atomic Energy Authority) declared they predicted the cost at approximately 20 billion euros. The decision of the energy ministry on the 10 billion-euro gap in estimates could have a significant impact on the already stretched balance sheet of EDF, whose 58 nuclear power plants generate the majority of France's nuclear waste. In its 2014 financial reference document, EDF stipulates that a 1 billion-euro raise in the Cigeo cost prediction would lead to an increase in provisions of around 200 million euros.

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