September 13, 2017 / 9:00 AM / in 10 months

UPDATE 1-Areva's Finnish client appeals over French nuclear restructuring

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HELSINKI, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima (TVO) has filed an appeal to the European Commission over France's restructuring of its nuclear industry, arguing that it could leave Areva, supplier to its long-delayed Olkiluoto reactor project, unable to meet liabilities.

TVO and France's Areva are locked in a dispute over years of delays and cost overruns on the Olkiluoto 3 EPR nuclear reactor project in southwest Finland.

Under France's recovery plan, nearly entirely state-owned Areva will sell its nuclear reactor business to power utility EDF. The government also plans a 4.5 billion euro ($5.4 billion) injection into Areva, but TVO said it was not enough.

"The plan does not ensure that Areva is able to meet all current and future liabilities during the last phases of Olkiluoto 3 project completion and until the end of the guarantee period," said TVO spokeswoman Anna Lehtiranta.

She said the appeal partly seeks to ensure that Areva has enough money in case it loses its case over plant delays.

In the dispute at the International Chamber of Commerce, TVO is claiming 2.6 billion euros from supplier consortium Areva and Siemens, while Areva and Siemens have a counter-claim of 3.6 billion euros. Siemens' role in the project was clearly smaller than Areva's.

"The partial awards which we have seen so far have been very positive for TVO, so the balance is strongly on our side," Lehtiranta said, adding that she did not know when the final ruling would be made.

Areva has said it would come early next year.

Areva declined to comment on the appeal but said the reactor remains on track to start production in December 2018 - almost a decade later than initially planned.

The cost of Olkiluoto 3 was initially estimated at 3.2 billion euros but Areva in 2012 estimated the overall cost at closer to 8.5 billion euros.

TVO's owners include Finnish paper companies UPM and Stora Enso as well as utility Fortum. ($1 = 0.8344 euros) (Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell, additional reporting by Gwenaelle Barzic in Paris, editing by Louise Heavens)

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