* France to build second EPR nuclear facility.
* EDF, GDF Suez to be involved in second EPR.
PARIS, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Leading French utilities EDF (EDF.PA) and GDF Suez GSZ.PA are to be involved in the construction of a new French EPR nuclear facility, President Nicolas Sarkozy’s office said on Thursday.
The President’s Elysee office said in a statement that the new site would be located at Penly, northern France.
EPR (European Pressurised Reactor) facilities are state-of-the-art nuclear plants although companies involved in setting them up have often faced cost overruns on the projects.
Both EDF and GDF Suez, in which the French state has a stake, could obtain big export orders if the EPRs are a success and building the new site at Penly could help create jobs.
State-owned EDF, which is France’s main electricity provider, is already in the midst of building an EPR plant near Flamanville in northern France.
The Flamanville EPR is due to cost 4 billion euros ($5.2 billion), more than an initial expected cost of 3.3 billion.
French state-owned nuclear group Areva CEPFi.PA is also facing cost overruns on an EPR plant that Areva is building in Finland.
The recent crisis over Russian gas supplies via Ukraine has highlighted the strategic importance of energy independence and France now generates about 15 percent of its total energy needs and 80 percent of electricity with nuclear plants. ($1=.7645 Euro) (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta, editing by Matthew Lewis)