Top Stories
Top Stories

UPDATE 1-At least 5 EDF reactors show welding problems -French regulator

(Adds quote, shares, background)

PARIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - At least five nuclear reactors operated by France's EDF might be affected by welding anomalies under investigation, the head of the French nuclear regulator was quoted as saying on Thursday.

EDF said on Tuesday it had found problems with weldings on the steam generators of some existing reactors.

At the time, that sent EDF's shares down 6.8% on fears that the faults could lead to reactor closures.

"EDF has advised that in around a week it will give an exact number of facilities affected," Le Figaro newspaper quoted Bernard Doroszczuk, head of the ASN regulator, as saying on Thursday.

"At least five nuclear reactors are affected by this problem."

EDF shares were down 0.9% in early trade.

Reactor closures, if they were to happen, would impact power generation in France, which depends heavily on nuclear power, and, potentially in European countries that import electricity from France.

France has the world's second-largest fleet of nuclear reactors behind the United States.

A spate of technical problems at existing reactors, coupled with hitches at reactors under construction, has tarnished EDF's image as a leader in nuclear technology and weighed on its ability to sell nuclear plants abroad.

It has exported its technology to China, Finland, South Africa and South Korea with Britain also set to use it.

On Wednesday, the ASN said it had put EDF's Flamanville 1 and 2 reactors under increased surveillance following a series of shortcomings in maintenance and contractor oversight. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; writing by Christian Lowe; editing by Richard Lough and Jason Neely)