UK and France Announce Plans For Further Nuclear Collaboration

Posted by NucNet on 31 January 2014 in NucNet

The UK and France are planning to collaborate on constructing new nuclear power stations, to find opportunities for small and medium enterprises in nuclear supply chains, and to fund joint training and skills centres for the nuclear industry.

In a joint communique today the two governments declared their commitment to developing nuclear energy, commercial opportunities and skills. They said French nuclear supplier Areva has committed to offering “strategic and practical support” to the UK’s National Skills Academy for Nuclear for the development of UK nuclear energy skills.

The declaration, which comes ahead of national leaders’ discussions over the EU’s 2030 energy and climate policy framework, reiterated the two governments’ shared view that nuclear power has “a critical role to play in a cost- effective low carbon transition”.

The two governments said they will “engage constructively” with the European Commission’s state aid consultation on Hinkley Point C in Somerset, southwest England, to demonstrate that the project meets state aid rules.

In December 2013, the Commission launched an investigation to examine whether UK plans to subsidise the construction and operation of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point are in line with EU state aid rules.

One of the main aspects of the deal the Commission will investigate is the guarantee from the UK government to French utility EDF on the price of electricity to be produced by the two planned EPR reactor units at Hinkley Point C.

Today’s declaration also said the UK and France will work together to “maximise opportunities” for SMEs in nuclear supply chains.

The London-based Nuclear Industry Association and Partenariat France Monde Electricité (a French organisation which comprises 70 SMEs that are qualified suppliers of EDF for the French nuclear programme) have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding to form the basis of cooperation. They intend to help SMEs develop their business interests in both countries and overseas.

The UK and France will develop skilled workforces through investing in joint training programmes and in research and development. They also plan to improve capabilities in civil nuclear emergency planning and security.