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Hollande Draws French Industry Ire as Nuclear Edge Fades

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Its sounds to us as though the French tax payer may need to lend some financial support in order to bring its nuclear industry back up and competing with the alternatvies.

French industrial groups are up in arms as their once-celebrated nuclear-energy edge evaporates.

After decades when their factories churned out everything from steel, glass and chemicals with one of the cheapest power prices in Europe thanks to the country’s 58 nuclear reactors, French companies’ competitive advantage is being whittled away as the U.S. embrace of shale gas cuts energy prices there and as Germany gives businesses fiscal breaks on electricity costs.

Electricite de France SA’s nuclear reactors, which make France the most reliant on atomic power in the world, will need billions of euros of upgrades just as more costly renewable power is being deployed. Both threaten to push electricity prices as President Francois Hollande struggles to make French industry -- with more jobs losses than any other European country in the past decade -- more competitive in the face of an economic slump and a trade deficit that’s near its record high.

“French energy used to be competitive,” said Emmanuel Rodriguez, head of energy for the French unit of ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, which also has operations in Germany. “This model is crumbling. Germany is now better than us whereas a decade ago they were much more expensive.”

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There are a number of uranium stocks that catch our eye at the moment, but as with all investment decisions the timing of such acquisitions and disposals is crucial. It’s good to see that the price of uranium appears to have stabilized for now, so when we detect a lifting of the negative gloom that hangs over this sector there should be a few decent opportunities to trade these stocks.

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