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French nuclear giant Areva to slash 1,500 jobs

Christopher Werth Dec 13, 2011

Jeremy Hobson: After the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, there was a lot of talk about a shift away from nuclear energy. And we may be seeing signs of that today. The French nuclear giant Areva has just announced its cutting jobs and closing plants in a $2 billion cost-cutting move.

Christopher Werth reports from London.

Christopher Werth: Right about now, the nuclear energy industry was supposed to be in the middle of a renaissance. After decades of sluggish growth, hundreds of new reactors were being planned across the globe. The industry was pushing for governments — including the in the U.S. — to support new nuclear development.

Areva had positioned itself to reap the benefits. The company sells everything from reactor designs to the uranium used to run them.

But Kash Burchett, an industry analyst at IHS, says that all came to halt with the Fukushima disaster in Japan earlier this year.

Kash Burchett: Since then the key growth markets, both in Europe and in Asia, have become far less reliable. The phase out of nuclear power in Germany, the suspension of projects in Switzerland and Italy are all really a function of Fukushima.

Areva says it will slash 1,500 jobs in Germany. And it’s mothballing plans to build a $3 billion uranium enrichment plant in Idaho within three years.

In London, I’m Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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