The Oracle of Omaha has agreed in principle of pay $4.7 for Constellation Energy, whose five reactors produce three fifths of the electricity it generates in the United States. On the eve of the agreement, ElectricitÃ© de France had been hoping to take a stake in Constellation and use it as a bridgehead into a revived U.S. nuclear energy market. Still hanging fire are EDF's efforts to purchase British Energy, which owns and operates the UK's nuclear reactor fleet.
EDF already is a significant exporter of nuclear electricity to the United Kingdom, but the British are having some trouble digesting the prospect of their nuclear reactor complement--which the government wants to sharply expand to produce carbon-free energy--being owned by France. But what do they have to complain about really? It's a logical result of introducing competition in electricity, a global movement that they largely inspired.
I live in Brooklyn, New York, and the natural gas that heats my home is delivered by Britain's National Grid--that's right, the company that was set up to own and operate the country's electric power system, when the UK restructured the system and separated generation from transmission.