Rolls-Royce is to supply key components for Areva's EPR nuclear reactor under an agreement signed by the British and French companies.
According to the Financial Times, Rolls-Royce will supply components to the first new reactors to be built in Britain by France’s EDF and its partner Centrica, which will use Areva’s EPR technology. However, the partnership has scope to be extended as Areva targets tenders around the world from Europe to the Middle East and Asia.
“Our industrial capacity is by definition limited, we cannot address the global market with only our capacities. The idea is to share with Rolls-Royce the market we have to address,” said Anne Lauvergeon, Areva’s chief executive.
The partnership would also be good news for the UK, she said. “To develop a new nuclear fleet in the UK means a fantastic opportunity for the country to re-industrialize in nuclear,” she said.
The first new reactor in the UK, to be built by EDF and its partners, is expected to begin operating in 2018 beside an existing reactor at Hinkley Point in Somerset.
The Financial Times says Rolls-Royce already provides advice to governments and operators on nuclear, as well as supply chain management expertise and manufacturing and technical engineering support. It also provides safety-critical instrumentation and control systems to all 58 operating nuclear power facilities in France and to more than 50 others across Europe, the US and wider international markets.
The UK is already one of Areva’s most important markets. The company is co-manager of the Sellafield complex in Cumbria and has supplied British Energy, now co-owned by EDF and Centrica, for a long time.
Aside from being chosen to build the new reactors for EDF and Centrica, Areva is also competing to supply a further four reactors planned by a consortium made up of Germany’s EON and RWE. The group is also in talks with NuGen, a joint venture company comprised of GDF Suez, Iberdrola and Scottish and Southern Energy.
Rolls-Royce, which powers Britain’s fleet of nuclear submarines, announced in 2008 it was to form a business unit to focus on the civil nuclear market, which it estimated at the time could be worth GBP50bn ($80bn) a year in 15 years.
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