Siemens is to sell its 34% stake in Areva NP in order to improve its business options within the nuclear energy industry. The Areva group is to pick up the shares to hold the entire company.
Siemens said today that the cooperation between it and Areva has been good, but that the minority stake "considerably limits the entrepreneurial maneuverability of Siemens within the joint venture."
The company's main role in Areva NP has been heavy involvement in the conventional islands for Areva nuclear power plants - the steam turbines, generators and main systems apart from the reactor building. The company said it wanted to continue to offer its products for nuclear plants, including systems for operation and control.
|EPR and its various components
However, free from commitments to Areva, Siemens will "further evaluate all available options to continue its commitment in nuclear power business." A statement included the prediction that spending on about 400 new nuclear power plants worldwide by 2030 would reach €1000 billion ($1300 billion).
The German firm merged its nuclear reactor business with France's Framatome in 2001. Siemens held 34% of the new firm, Framatome ANP, which was later renamed as Areva NP in line with its membership of the overall Areva group. After today's announcement, the Areva group will buy back the 34% before the end of January 2012 to hold all of the company. Areva said a price for the shares would be set in line with terms in the 2001 agreement.
Areva NP is currently heavily involved in promotion of its EPR pressurized water reactor worldwide, with four planned for the UK and six under discussion for the USA. Announcements are expected soon regarding deployment in India. The units are already under construction at Flamanville and Olkiluoto, while work will start soon on two more units at Taishan in China.
Besides its involvement through Areva NP, Siemens is a consortium partner at Olkiluoto 3 in that it provides the entire conventional island. Siemens has also signed a letter of intent to cooperate on EPR deployment in the UK and should provide the conventional islands for any forthcoming EPRs in that country. Meanwhile, French rival Alstom is contracted to provide turbine islands for Flamanville 3, the two EPRs at Taishan and the three proposed Unistar Nuclear Energy EPR projects in the USA.