Japan-based Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has formally decided to purchase 19.5% stake in New NP, a new firm that would become an affiliate of French utility Electricité de France (EDF), in conjunction with the reorganisation of Areva Group.

The Japanese firm has signed agreements on the investment with both EDF and Areva Group.

The deal is expected to complete at the end of the current calendar year.

This move will support partnerships between MHI and EDF.

In June 2015, EDF agreed to acquire a stake between 51% and 75% in Areva SA's reactor unit as part of a government-supported plan to revive its nuclear power sector, reported World-nuclear-news.org.

The restructuring process of Areva required the government to inject €4.5bn into the company. The reactor operations to be sold have been transferred to Areva NP, which will now become an EDF affiliate under a new name, New NP.

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Deal for the Olkiluoto 3 (OL3) EPR project in Finland and other agreements including those of the Le Creusot plant are not part of this sale and will continue to remain within Areva.

Since September 2015, MHI had been planning to invest in Areva NP, a company in the Areva Group that undertakes the design and manufacture of equipment for new power plants (NPP), as well as plant construction and fuel supply.

New NP will now specialise in after-sale servicing and fuel supply for existing NPPs, in addition to providing engineering and equipment manufacturing for nuclear reactors.

"New NP will specialise in after-sale servicing and fuel supply for existing NPPs."

Commenting on the formal decision to invest in New NP, MHI president and CEO Shunichi Miyanaga said: "For many years, MHI has been a key player in cooperation between Japan and France in the development of nuclear power generation technologies, and we have high hopes and expectations that this new structure will deepen and expand our ties of cooperation.

“With this new initiative, we will strive all the more vigorously to further improve technologies to ensure the safety and reliability of nuclear energy and to foster its widespread adoption in the global market as a leading choice that can resolve the globally shared issues of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving stable supplies of energy.”

EDF currently operates 73 NPPs in France and the UK. To date, MHI has secured orders to replace 15 steam generators at EDF's plants.