Since you asked "so" nicely (??), I will clarify the point JY for you. But first to correct your mis-representations lets be clear about my first points:
1. Is it wrong for someone to make profits from a LT capital investment project (it isn't IMO). This developed into a profits v profitability question - see below.
2. The issue of foreign involvment and linked to that whether we are subsidising the French (the security question is another matter)
3. The slap in the face for the UK.
I addressed (3) right in my OP. But for clarity: experts estimate that we have the capability in the UK to meet 40-60% of the project. So given the (perceived) need for urgent action to address the UK energy mix, this was always going to involve some sort of foreign involvement and EDF have a world class reputation (despite current over-runs etc). Centrica were involved in the discussions but I understand that they pulled out - presumably because they couldn't make the numbers work - leaving us with no UK direct involvement. Although as 100mpplus states, a substantial UK involvement does exist in stages of the project. So hardly a slap in the face for the UK - more a reflection of where we are. Correct me if I am wrong 100mphplus, but that is my understanding.
That partly addresses (2) and highlights why the anti-French and Chines arguments are either red-herrings at best or xenophobia at worst.
So the rest of (2) and (1). Ok lets start with some definitions so that we are talking the same thing:
Profit = revenue - cost
Profit margin = profit/revenue
Profit margin (in reports in this case) = the "margin" added to household bills that is profit. Currently estimated to be @5% for UK energy companies (see recent Treasury report)
Profitability = profit/capital employed
As an identity therefore, Profitability = profit margin (profits/revenue) x asset/CE turnover (revenue/CE)
[I raise this as if these numbers are true, then PM is not the key thing either. I am no expert on energy, but if profitability is as high as some would make us believe, then this will be the result of high turnover more that what seems to be lowish PMs - but an "industry insider" will have to confirm that]
Then we have a long term investment project that is essentially a NPV calculation ie discount future cash flows from the project at an appropriate cost of capital and/or compare profitability (return on capital) against cost of capital.
[The free-market is an irrelevance here as nuclear power will never/rarely be built under free market conditions - although some US commentators argue against this. However, most accept that nulcear development requires not only political support but also direct financial support from governments. This is clearly the case here. ]
So we have a high risk, long term capital project with up-front costs and delayed revenues coupled with lots of funnies (decommissioning, changing sentiments, poor track records in delivery, accident risk etc). In other words a project that is likely to have a relatively high cost of capital. Some reports put this at 12-15% (but that seems lowish to me).
Irrespective of who is involved (private, public, joint) this is a project that is assessed on whether the return exceeds the cost of capital. (there is an assumption here, but bear with me since all the government reports start at this point).
Phew= back to the point. Profits per se are interesting but not the key factor. Why?
Assume that £100 is invested at a cost of capital of 12%. If EDF makes a profit of £10, is that a good or bad thing for them and for us? From what you are saying, I assume that you think this is a bad thing as profits (£10) are leaving the Uk and crossing the channel. I disagree. If EDF makes a profit of £10, their profitability and return on the £100 invested in 10%. Their cost 12%. So their return is -2%. Whose happy here? They get a negative return on the investment [and we get the benefit]. Merci mes amis et tant pis!
So there we have it - you can make a profit (revenue > cost) on an investment but still "lose out" if the profitability is below the cost of the capital employed - the basic investment maths bit. Now of course, estimates on both the cost of capital and the returns are subject to a great deal of variation, hence my first comment that it is absurd to draw conclusions re who is the winner and loser at this stage. And this is a gross simplification of the calculations her. And then there is an issue of whether this a good idea at all.........?
But to really complicate matters, ask why the French themselves conclude that EDF has an unviable business model that tries to combine LT investment needs with energy prices held artificially low by the state. Ring a bell?