The European Commission has approved the French Government’s plans to provide nuclear group Areva with €4.5 billion (£3.9bn) as part of its restructuring plan.
The payment of the state aid is subject to conditions, in particular a “positive conclusion” of the ongoing tests by the French Nuclear Safety Agency concerning the nuclear reactor vessel of Flamanville III.
It also includes an approval of the divestment of Areva’s reactor businesses under EU merger rules.
Last April, France notified a restructuring plan for various divestments, in particular the group’s nuclear reactor business.
Areva will instead focus its activities on the nuclear fuel cycle, i.e. the upstream and downstream activities and services in the production of electricity from uranium in nuclear reactors.
France plans to help the company bear the cost of restructuring.
The Commission’s investigation shows Areva’s withdrawal from the nuclear reactor business “will allow the group to focus on a clear and profitable business in the nuclear fuel cycle”.
Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner responsible for competition policy, said: “Today’s decision paves the way for a viable future for Areva based on a sustainable restructuring plan. The plan strikes the right balance between improving the group’s competitiveness and limiting distortions of competition created by the public financing.”
Last year a Finnish utility launched legal action against Areva over nuclear reactor delays.