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France Looks To Nationalize Utility Giant EDF

French power giant Electricite de France (EDF) will be fully nationalized under new government plans in France, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

The French state currently controls 83.88 percent of EDF's share capital, with 15 percent with institutional and individual investors.  

"I confirm to you today that the state intends to control 100% of EDF's capital," Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told the Parliament, as carried by Reuters, in her speech outlining priorities for the government.

Shares in EDF (EPA:EDF) traded in Paris jumped by 6 percent after Borne's speech on Wednesday.

Year to date, the utility has lost 18 percent on the stock market as it has seen piling debts, cost overruns on major nuclear power projects in France and the UK, and issues at its nuclear power plants in France that have led to many reactors being offline for maintenance and repairs this year, at a time when France and Europe need a lot of non-Russian gas and other forms of energy in the ongoing crisis.  

France's nuclear power generation accounts for around 70 percent of its electricity mix, and when its reactors are fully operational, it is a net exporter of electricity to other European countries.

French President Emmanuel Macron said last year that France aims to become a leader in green hydrogen production and reinvent nuclear power by building a small modular reactor by 2030 as part of a wider $30.5 billion (30 billion euro) plan to decarbonize industry and slash emissions. According to Macron, Europe's renewable energy capacity will never be enough to produce enough green hydrogen for mobility, so France's nuclear power generation will be a key enabler for green hydrogen.

Most recently, EDF warned earlier this week that it might have to reduce nuclear power generation as the water levels of rivers are low and water temperatures high, which could force EDF to reduce nuclear output because of environmental regulations for using river water for cooling nuclear reactors.

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By Josh Owens for Oilprice.com 

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