Report: EDF may drop plans for Calvert Cliffs reactor
This is the brilliant-report-of-the-painfully-obvious headline of the day: "EDF Considers Dropping New Nuclear in Maryland," from Dow Jones. The French EDF's plans for a third nuclear unit at Calvert Cliffs have been deader than Lehman Brothers for more than a year.
The French company's partner, Constellation Energy, pulled out of the deal. They couldn't reach an agreement with Washington on subsidies to build the plant. With the plunge in natural gas prices and the failure of federal climate-change legislation, new nuclear plants, with all their complexity and financial risk, are wildly overpriced. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has made nuclear energy politically incorrect again.
(UPDATE: Another reason why it won't happen: As a foreign company EDF needs an American partner to build the Calvert Cliffs reactor. It doesn't have one. Exelon seems to have rejected its overtures. And it's not going to get one.)
Yet for months EDF has been pretending that a third reactor at Calvert Cliffs was still a possibility, that Maryland politicians cared about it and that somehow the company could use the prospect as leverage in opposing Constellation's agreement to be bought by Exelon.
EDF is one of Constellation's biggest shareholders and it owns half of Constellation's nuclaer-power division. EDF had been pressuring Maryland officials to block the Exelon deal, which it rightly fears will dilute its interest in and control of the Constellation assets. Now EDF seems to be shocked that it wasn't a factor in Gov. Martin O'Malley's settlement with Constellation and Exelon that got the companies to boost their investment in green (non-nuclear) energy in Maryland.
EDF undoubtedly feels spurned after it rescued Constellation from being bought by Warren Buffett three years ago and saved Constellation CEO Mayo Shattuck's job. My colleague Hanah Cho contacted EDF's people this morning. They declined to comment.
Here is the story from Dow Jones:
PARIS -(Dow Jones)- French state-controlled power behemoth Electricite de France SA (EDF.FR) is considering dropping all plans for new nuclear capacities in Maryland, following a proposed settlement between the Maryland governor and EDF's U.S. partner, Constellation Energy (CEG), a person familiar with the matter said Thursday.
"EDF is being side-lined here, nuclear is not even mentioned and the group seriously mulls dropping any new projects to develop nuclear" in Maryland, said a person familiar with EDF's thinking.