challenges Cogema for French nuclear contracts
FT.com, February 6, 2001
By Matthew Jones in London
British Nuclear Fuels said on Tuesday that it was in
preliminary talks with Electricite de France in an attempt to win key
atomic services contracts from Cogema, its French competitor.
A BNFL official said EdF was considering opening all
of its nuclear contracts to competition, including reprocessing of spent
fuel, reactor maintenance and atomic fuel supply.
"EdF has committed to opening the market. We are having
ongoing discussions and are hopeful that some contracts will come out
of it," he said.
Cogema has been the sole supplier of reprocessing services
to EdF up to now and the award of contracts would be an important commercial
victory for BNFL, which suffered record losses last year.
One industry analyst said: "There are only two companies
that do commercial reprocessing, so if BNFL can pinch some business
that would be good news for them and very bad news for Cogema."
EdF is currently negotiating a reprocessing contract
for post 2001 with Cogema but BNFL is hopeful of winning business for
the post-2005 period.
The award of French reprocessing contracts would help
to secure the long-term future of BNFL's Thermal Oxide Reprocessing
Plant at Sellafield in Cumbria, north-west England, which has been threatened
by a data falsification scandal for recycled fuel last year.