Areva has simultaneously announced plans for the manufacture of nuclear fuel with Japan's Mitsubishi as well as reprocessing and recycling at home in France.
|Areva's headquarters in Paris
The deal with Mitsubishi builds on a memorandum of understanding signed in April 2008. It will see Areva take a 30% stake in a new company that will "be a fully-fledged nuclear fuel supplier, integrating development, design, manufacturing and sales of nuclear fuel."
The remainder of the company would be held by: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (35%), Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (30%), Mitsubishi Corporation (5%). It will be built out of the existing Mitsubishi Nuclear Fuel company, in Tokai-mura.
And in the reactors department...
A third announcement from Areva has criticised its partner in the Olkiluoto 3 new reactor project.
The constructor said its customer, Teollisuuden Voima Oyj (TVO), "remained slow" in handling technical documents - forwarding them to regulators in 12 months instead of just two.
TVO has not satisfactorily implemented measures to accelerate the project that the two sides announced in June 2008, Areva said, and this has mean that some "critical project activities" has not been undertaken.
The new company is yet to be named, but statements from the firms said it would be established in the first half of 2009, and expects Y50 billion ($550 million) in sales by 2020 in the Japanese market. It would employ around 550 people and will supply fuel for light-water reactors and high-temperature gas-cooled models including MOX. It will offer reconversion services and would market MHI-designed fuel assemblies outside of Japan.
Areva and MHI also confirmed that they want to invest in a nuclear fuel fabrication facility in the USA.
In France, Areva has agreed a framework for the reprocessing and recycling of Electricité de France's used nuclear fuel from 2008 to 2040. It covers Areva's pick-up and transportation of the used fuel from EdF's 20 nuclear power sites, its reprocessing and the separation of re-usable materials followed by packaging and minimization of waste volumes for eventual disposal.
The companies said the new framework gave them long-term visibility - especially in the context of EdF's desire to increase volumes sent for reprocessing from 850 to 1050 tonnes per year and the need to step up manufacture of MOX fuel from recycled materials from 100 to 120 tonnes per year.