French utility EDF and Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) have today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for collaboration in civil nuclear power, including MHI taking a stake in Areva NP and joint development of the Atmea reactor design.
The MOU was signed today in Paris by EDF chairman and CEO Jean-Bernard Lévy and MHI president and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga. In a joint statement, the companies said the signing of the MOU “is a strategic move to strengthen the links between the French and Japanese nuclear power industries, recognizing the strategic interest to combine in certain fields of civil nuclear energy the strengths of EDF and MHI”.
In late July 2015, EDF and Areva announced they had signed an MOU setting out the principal terms and conditions for EDF to take a majority share in Areva’s reactor business, Areva NP. Under the MOU signed today, EDF and MHI will look at “the potential participation of MHI as a partner in the French nuclear landscape reorganization with the acquisition of a minority equity interest in Areva NP”.
EDF and MHI also plan to establish an updated cooperation framework regarding the Atmea partnership between Areva and MHI, “including the involvement of EDF in Atmea’s business operations”.
The Atmea joint venture was established in September 2007 to develop, market, license and sell the Atmea 1 reactor design: an 1100 MWe pressurized water reactor combining technologies of both companies.
Under the MOU, EDF and MHI said they will seek the “smooth execution” of Atmea 1 projects, particularly in Turkey and Vietnam.
Turkey’s second nuclear power plant, at Sinop on its Black Sea coast, is proposed to feature four Atmea 1 reactors supplied by Areva and MHI. Ownership of the 4800 MWe plant is to be split between a consortium of Japan’s Mitsubishi and Itochu, and France’s Areva and GDF Suez, with 65%, and Turkey’s state-run power producer EUAS, with 35%. Construction of the plant is expected to start in 2017, once an environmental impact assessment has been approved.
The MOU between EDF and MHI also covers a “potential broader range of collaborative ties leveraging the respective technologies and special expertise in the global market”.
Following the signing of the MOU, Lévy said: “With this MOU paving the way to a global and strategic agreement, EDF and MHI intend to strengthen their own long-standing experiences and skills in building and operating safely nuclear generation plants. I am fully confident that this opportunity will lay the foundations for a joint and successful promotion of new nuclear projects in the global market and will also benefit the entire nuclear energy industry in France and in Japan”.
Miyanaga added, “It is a significant step to have EDF’s involvement in Atmea, allowing the future development and promotion of this competitive technology in the global market. We look forward to cooperating with EDF in the civil nuclear fields comprising the development of the first Atmea project, Atmea 1, which will become one of the most advanced nuclear power plants in the world. This agreement also increases cooperative ties between our two countries, and I am confident that this will lead to the further enhancement of nuclear power technologies”.