Areva closes refinancing of French nuclear project

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Areva closes refinancing of French nuclear project

AREVA finalized a financing project for SET (Société d’Enrichissement du Tricastin), which owns and runs the Georges Besse 2 enrichment plant on the Tricastin nuclear site in Southern France.

Areva has arranged a project finance loan of €650 million over 10 years from a group of 10 international banks.

The financing is underpinned by future revenues from the Georges Besse 2 plant, which have been secured thanks to a large long-term backlog. The ramp-up of the plant, whose construction began in 2006, continues in line with the original schedule, with an installed capacity of 84% as of the end of May 2014. When running to full capacity, the plant will produce enough enriched uranium to supply 70 reactors with nuclear fuel.

With a total investment of €3 billion, the George Besse II plant is one of the largest industrial investment projects currently underway in France.

This new structure enables AREVA to benefit from favorable financing conditions while retaining access to the cash generated by plant activity.

The success of this operation involving a large number of partners shows that the financing of industrial nuclear projects can be an attractive prospect for the banking sector. It makes it possible for AREVA to diversify its sources of finance without any impact on the average duration of its debt.

Luc Oursel, Chief Executive Officer of AREVA, stated:

The fact that several large banks have shown a strong interest in financing the Georges Besse 2 plant demonstrates that they recognize the quality of this industrial project and have confidence in the future of the nuclear market. The innovative nature of this limited recourse financing scheme, applied for the first time to an AREVA nuclear asset, opens up development potential for nuclear activities.

The enrichment plant was inaugurated in December 2010. It comprises two enrichment units and will produce 7.5 million SWUs (separative work units) by the time it reaches full capacity in 2016. The centrifuge enrichment process applied on the site is a major technological accomplishment as it uses 50 times less electricity than gaseous diffusion used until now in France.

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