Japanese conglomerate Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is considering a minority stake investment, including ownership ratios, in French nuclear group Areva’s reactor business, Areva NP.
The potential investment is expected to enhance the safety and reliability of nuclear power facilities by strengthening alliance between the two countries, which has already been initiated through an MHI-Areva NP joint venture.
Électricité de France (EDF) had signed an agreement with Areva in August 2015 to acquire up to 75% in Areva NP.
EDF also announced that it is seeking partners for selling minority stake in the unit, but is likely to retain the entire 75% stake if suitable joint venture partners cannot be found.
Divestment of Areva’s stake in the unit is a part of the firm’s efforts to settle its financial obligations by 2017.
MHI and Areva formed a JV in the fuel cycle business in 1991, following which the parties signed another agreement in 2006 for expanding their collaboration in the nuclear energy field.
In 2007, MHI and Areva NP created ATMEA as a 50:50 JV, which has developed ATMEA1, a pressurised water reactor (PWR) in the 1,100MW class.
MHI has supported EDF operations and received orders for a total of 15 replacement steam generators to be used for EDF operated nuclear power plants in France since 2005.
NPPs are one of the power plants operated by EDF in France. Deliveries have proceeded smoothly, and MHI has cooperated in supporting their operation.
MHI president and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga said: "Through the years MHI, EDF and AREVA have enjoyed favourable relationships of cooperation applying their respective technologies, and I have high expectations that an investment by MHI into AREVA NP would realise and strengthen the ties between the Japanese and French nuclear energy industries further, which in turn will enable us to contribute to the improvement of the quality of nuclear power plants around the world."