French electricity utility EDF has bought out US joint venture partner Constellation Energy’s 50% stake in US nuclear new-build company UniStar for $140 million. The deal follows Constellation Energy’s withdrawal from the US Department of Energy’s loan guarantee programme, which it argued was prohibitively expensive.

In addition to sites for Calvert Cliffs 3 and a potential fourth reactor at Calvert Cliffs, which are both held by UniStar, Constellation will also transfer potential new nuclear sites at Nine Mile Point and R. E. Ginna in New York State to UniStar. With the sale of its share of UniStar, Constellation will no longer have responsibility for developing or financing the proposed EPR at Calvert Cliffs 3.

Further to the terms of the agreement, EDF will transfer to Constellation 3.5 million of the shares that it owns in Constellation and will relinquish its seat on the Constellation board.

The deal came after an unusual public release of letters between executives at EDF and Constellation Energy in October in reaction to withdrawal from the loan guarantee. In the third letter in the exchange, Constellation Energy chief operating officer Michael Wallace offered to sell EDF its 50% stake in UniStar for $117 million.