Germany-based power giant EOn is to cooperate on research for the future of nuclear energy with France's main research institute.
The company is not allowed to invest in new nuclear power plants in Germany due to legislation which limits the operating lives of nuclear plants such that all are expected to close down by 2022. However, EOn still operates six nuclear plants in Germany, which provide about one third of its power.
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The company has agreed to cooperate with France's Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l'énergie atomique, CEA), saying the research will mainly focus on materials, safety, innovation in reactor technology and future nuclear power plant designs.
The latest announcement is another clear commitment from EOn towards using nuclear power for the long term, despite the official policies of two of its main regions of activity, Germany and Sweden. EOn is also present in many other European nations, with an agenda to expand.
The company is working towards a position to build nuclear power plants in the UK, as indicated by a 2008 letter of intent it signed with Areva and Siemens concerning EPR units and a request for an EPR-sized grid connection from 2020 at Oldbury. It is also the major shareholder in Fennovoima, a Finnish consortium aiming to build a new large reactor in that country.
EOn CEO Wulf Bernotat said: "Nuclear power as a CO2-free energy resource is of particular importance in climate protection. In Germany alone, nuclear power stations avoid 150 million tonnes of CO2 and are one of the most efficient ways to reduce CO2 output."