EDF to buy part of GE Steam Power's nuclear activities

10 February 2022

GE of the USA has agreed to sell part of GE Steam Power's nuclear power activities, including Arabelle steam turbines, to France's EDF. The proposed transaction would bring together GE's nuclear steam turbine technology and services expertise, with EDF strengthening its commitment to the nuclear power sector, creating a global steam turbine equipment and services provider within the EDF Group.

An Arabelle turbine (Image: GE)

The proposed transaction includes GE Steam Power's conventional island equipment for new nuclear power plants - including the world's most powerful steam turbine in operation, the Arabelle turbine - as well as maintenance and upgrades for existing nuclear power plants.

The transaction - the financial terms of which have not been disclosed - would also include steam turbine technology for future nuclear plants, such as the EPR2 pressurised water reactor and small modular reactors (SMRs).

The nuclear activities and teams in scope of the proposed transaction are based in about 15 countries, with nearly 70% of the workforce in France, including at GE Steam Power manufacturing sites at Belfort and La Courneuve.

GE would retain a services-focused Steam Power business and continue to provide best-in-class services for more than 100 GW of nuclear turbine islands in the Americas region, and it also retains GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy, which will deploy Canada's first commercial, grid-scale SMR.

GE said it "remains committed to the nuclear sector and continues to invest in next-generation technology, which plays an important role in today's energy transition".

"This plan supports GE's efforts to focus our portfolio to be a best-in-class services partner to our Steam Power customers through the energy transition," said GE Chairman and CEO Lawrence Culp.

"Nuclear plays an important role in the energy transition, and GE will continue to support the industry through servicing our nuclear steam turbine fleet in the Americas as well as through GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy's nuclear reactors, fuels, and services, including our SMR technology."

EDF Chairman and CEO, Jean-Bernard Lévy, said: "The climate emergency is reaffirming the role of nuclear energy. EDF is proud to contribute to the achievement of carbon neutrality by preserving this technology. This plan to acquire part of GE Steam Power's nuclear activities including the Arabelle turbine will enable EDF to strengthen its key technologies and skills for the nuclear fleet in operation and for new nuclear projects in France and worldwide."

The proposed transaction is subject to consultation with employee representatives and other customary closing conditions, including regulatory requirements. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2023.

GE Steam Power's nuclear steam turbines are currently installed in half of the world's nuclear power plants, including in all of EDF's plants in France.

In June 2014, the board of French engineering firm Alstom unanimously recommended its shareholders accept a revised offer for its power and grid businesses from GE that would see Alstom retain a 50% interest in its nuclear steam turbine business.

The French state also agreed to acquire up to 20% of Alstom. Alstom's nuclear steam technology services were included in a 50:50 joint venture, Global Nuclear & French Steam Alliance, which included the production and servicing of Alstom's Arabelle steam turbine equipment for nuclear power plants, as well as Alstom's steam turbine equipment and servicing for applications in France. That transaction was completed in November 2015 following the necessary consultations, regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News