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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 June, 2004, 17:08 GMT 18:08 UK
Strike hits French nuclear plants
An EdF nuclear reactor
The strike action looks set to continue
Workers at France's state utility EdF have cut power supplies to five nuclear power stations in protest against the partial sell-off of their firm.

Workers cut output by 5,700 megawatts - said to represent 10% of capacity - and severed an export cable to Spain.

The workers fear the privatisation move could lead to job losses.

They have warned that the strike action - which has included cutting power to the home of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin - may go on until 14 July.

Network investment required

EdF and Gaz de France employees walked out on Tuesday, as a parliamentary debate began on a bill to transform utilities into limited liability companies, a move which paves the way for privatisation.

The main CGT union said the 5,600 megawatts which were cut from 1100 local time on Wednesday was equivalent to 10% of available capacity.

EdF's Saint Laurent, Nogent, Chinon, Cruas and Golfech nuclear power plants were affected, according to the union.

The centre-right government wants to sell off up to 30% of EdF in order to fund urgently-needed investment in France's electricity network without putting its already overstretched finances under additional strain.

But the CGT union said the government had neglected alternatives to privatisation.

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