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| 19 September, 2017

Saudi Arabia, French firm in talks for nuclear deal

Pressurized water reactors of the Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power station are pictured in Civaux, France, March 17, 2016.

Pressurized water reactors of the Electricite de France (EDF) nuclear power station are pictured in Civaux, France, March 17, 2016.

REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

EDF's head of new nuclear, Xavier Ursat, said company is in talks with several countries about selling nuclear power plants, including China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

PARIS- EDF's head of new nuclear, Xavier Ursat, said the company is in talks with several countries about selling nuclear power plants, including China, India, South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

EDF is set to complete its takeover of the reactor unit of nuclear group Areva later this year and has taken the lead in negotiating export contracts for Areva's flagship European Pressurized Reactor (EPR).

"We are in talks with several countries about new EPR contracts," Ursat told reporters at an EDF strategy briefing.

Ursat said talks with India's NPCIL were progressing well and he hoped a deal for six Areva-designed EPR reactors could be signed in the coming months.

"India is one of the countries most suited to build new nuclear," Ursat said, adding that the country's strong industrial and academic environment underpinned new nuclear.

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Ursat is also in talks with China about new EPR contracts, although Chinese authorities have said new contracts will have to wait for the startup of the first of two EPR reactors under construction in Taishan, southern China.

EDF remains in contact with South African nuclear authorities and hopes that a tender procedure that was interrupted earlier this year will resume soon. He also confirmed that EDF is in talks with Saudi Arabia, which is considering a nuclear newbuild programme.

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Luke Baker) ((geert.declercq@thomsonreuters.com; +33 14949 5343; Reuters Messaging: Twitter: @gvdeclercq))