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Nuclear Policy Council

Published on February 24, 2011
Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, February 21, 2011

President Sarkozy convened the Nuclear Policy Council on Monday, 21 February 2011.

In accordance with the Nuclear Policy Council’s decisions of 27 July 2010 relating to the creation of a strategic partnership between EDF and AREVA, the two companies will, before the summer, finalize a technical and commercial agreement on:

- continuing the optimization of the EPR [European Pressurized Reactor], on the basis of feedback from projects under way (Olkiluoto, Flamanville, Taishan 1 and 2),

- improving the maintenance and usage of the existing nuclear power network, in order to increase the reactors’ operational performance and prepare for their operational lives to be extended beyond 40 years,

- managing the fuel cycle, in order to define new fuel products and strengthen industrial cooperation on the storage of radioactive waste.

To realize France’s ambition in the field of research and uranium mining, and in the knowledge that this mining activity is a major asset for AREVA, the Nuclear Policy Council requests that it entrust this activity to a subsidiary, as a preliminary step towards examining and implementing strategic and financial scenarios guaranteeing its development. The Nuclear Policy Council also asks AREVA and EDF to finalize an agreement on the long-term supply of uranium to EDF.

In order to boost the French supply and as a complement to the high-power (1650MW) EPR – today the French nuclear industry’s benchmark – the Nuclear Policy Council requests that AREVA, EDF, GDF SUEZ and other interested players strengthen their industrial cooperation in order to continue optimization and certify the ATMEA1 mid-sized reactor. The plan to build a first ATMEA1 in France will be studied.

In order to participate in the development of the Chinese market, the Nuclear Policy Council has charged the CEA [Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission] with conducting negotiations with the Chinese authorities with a view to a comprehensive partnership between France and China covering all civilian nuclear activities, including security. In addition to the supply of products and services relating to the existing or planned nuclear power network and the construction of new EPRs, this partnership may include the joint development of a third-generation medium-power reactor (1000MW), by virtue of the French and Chinese manufacturers’ successful experience of building and operating jointly-designed reactors. All the players in the French nuclear industry will be associated with this partnership.

Moreover, the Minister responsible for Energy, with the support of the CEA and the other departments concerned, will lead a working group charged with studying the technical, legal and economic aspects of low-power reactor (100MW to 300MW) projects.

In the framework of the Etats-Généraux de l’Industrie (1), the Nuclear Policy Council requests that the Minister responsible for Energy set up a strategic nuclear energy committee bringing together all the players in the nuclear industry, engineering companies, service providers, equipment manufacturers, fuel-cycle companies, principals, subcontractors and union organizations representing employees. Under the chairmanship of the Minister and the vice-chairmanship of EDF’s Chairman and Managing Director – who will take charge of leading its steering committee – this strategic industry committee’s mission will be to strengthen relations and partnerships between the different players in the nuclear industry. The industry support tools put in place by the government (FSI (2), OSEO (3), aid for competitiveness clusters, etc.) will be mobilized.

To ensure that the supply of French exports is coordinated, the Nuclear Policy Council requests that the Minister responsible for Energy head a unit coordinating all the players in the French nuclear industry and including representatives of the different ministries concerned. When France is sought for her skills as architect-assembler, EDF will be the lead company in the French nuclear industry. In other cases, the lead company or companies will be chosen according to the situation and needs of the country seeking the support of French businesses./.

(1) High-level industry conference.

(2) Strategic Investment Fund.

(3) French body providing assistance and financial support to small and very small French businesses at crucial moments in their development. By sharing the risk, it facilitates their access to financing by banking partners and equity capital investors.

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