Areva's shares have dropped 58 percent since the worst nuclear accident in 25 years. Japan has idled all but one of its 54 reactors, and Germany has reversed a decision to extend the lifespan of its atomic facilities.
Nevertheless, the company's chief commerical officer, Ruben Lazo, is optimistic in the long term. “In two years, there will be very strong demand on the market, as new reactors start operating, and as new contracts with the existing fleet kick in,” he said in a March 26 interview at the company’s headquarters in Paris. “I’m sure that Japan will restart a few reactors this year, and complete all necessary measures to restart many others in 2013 and 2014.”
The French company is betting that an 80 percent jump in global energy demand by 2030, combined with rising fuel prices and the need to cut greenhouse gas emissions, will lead to a 2.2 percent annual increase in the installed base of nuclear plants in the next two decades.
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