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Areva hit by nuclear reactor delay

Delays in the construction of a new-generation nuclear reactor in Finland have pushed half-year profits at France’s state-owned engineering giant Areva down by 80%.

It reports a net profit for the six months ending June 30 of 161m euros (£141m), down from 760m euros (£670m) a year earlier .

The world’s largest builder of nuclear reactors has been forced to make a 550 million-euro (£485m) provision against its contract to build a european pressurised reactor (EPR) for Finnish power company TVO.

Areva blames “inadequate resources deployed by TVO to fulfil their contractual commitments.” The three billion-euro project has now accumulated estimated losses of 2.3 billion euros (£2bn).

The 1,600-megawatt Olkiluoto 3 reactor was expected to be online this year, and is intended to eventually replace ageing reactors whose designs date from decades ago.

Areva chief executive Anne Lauvergeon earlier said that there was “a good chance” that a new deadline in 2012 would be met. But in its latest statement, the company says the project’s final cost and completion date remain uncertain.

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