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Zombie nuclear corporation AREVA arises from dead – as “Orano” , “Framatome”


As Nuclear Giant AREVA Reforms, Framatome Is Resurrected | Sonal Patel   a POWER associate editor.

Reforging its core business to return to competitiveness after record losses of €4.83 billion in 2014, French nuclear firm AREVA has split its five operational business units and rebranded them—again. All its assets related to the design and manufacture of nuclear reactors and equipment, fuel design and supply, and services to existing reactors now fall under Framatome, which until January 4 was known as New NP. Operations related to the nuclear fuel cycle will be undertaken by Orano, which until January 23 was known as NewCo.

Creation of the AREVA group itself was an overhaul effort. The company was formed in 2001 with the merger of Framatome, Cogema, a nuclear business of German giant Siemens, and French propulsion and research reactor arm Technicatome. Framatome—short for Franco-Américaine de Constructions Atomiques—was created in 1958 by Schneider, Merlin Gerin, and Westinghouse Electric to exploit the emerging pressurized water reactor (PWR) market.

. By 1975, the company had become the sole manufacturer of nuclear power plants in France, equipping French state-owned utility EDF with 58 PWRs, and gradually taking on more projects overseas, building reactors like South Africa’s Koeberg, South Korea’s Ulchin, and China’s Daya Bay and Ling-Ao. In 1989, Framatome and Siemens created a joint company called Nuclear Power International to develop the EPR, a third-generation reactor that complied with both French and German nuclear regulations. The companies eventually merged in 2001, retiring the Framatome name and giving birth to AREVA.

One of the company’s most prominent contract wins came in 2003 from Finnish utility Teollisuuden Voima Oy (TVO) for construction of the world’s first EPR, Olkiluoto 3, in southern Finland. In 2007, AREVA also signed a contract with EDF for an EPR in Flamanville, France, and separately with Taishan Nuclear Power Co., a joint venture 70% held by China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corp. and 30% by EDF. Two years later, Siemens withdrew its capital in Areva NP—AREVA’s specialized nuclear steam supply system arm—citing a “lack of exercising entrepreneurial influence within the joint venture” as the reason behind the move, and transferred its 34% stake to the AREVA group.

But plagued by delays and cost overruns at Olkiluoto 3 (Figure 3) and Flamanville 3, as well as at a research reactor construction project, and financially hemorrhaging from renewable energy contracts, AREVA’s finances began to fall into disarray, reaching record losses in 2014. In 2015, EDF moved to snap up between 51% and 75% of the troubled nuclear giant’s reactor business, encouraged by the French government’s attempts to address a rivalry between the two majority state-owned companies.

In November 2016, AREVA and EDF signed a contract conferring to EDF exclusive control of a new entity—New NP—that oversaw AREVA’s reactor design and equipment manufacturing, fuel design and assemblies manufacturing, and reactor services. Closure of the sale was completed in December 2017, and EDF became the majority owner (holding 75.5% of shares) of New NP, while Mitsubishi Heavy Industries took on 19.5%, and Paris-based international engineering firm Assystem held 5%.

Then in January 2018, the companies rebranded New NP, reviving the Framatome name in a move to harken to its celebrated legacy. Staffed by 14,000 employees worldwide, Framatome today has an “existing global fleet of some 440 reactors representing output of around 390 GWe in 31 countries, and with new nuclear capacity on its way, the nuclear market presents opportunities in the areas of components, fuel, retrofits and services,” the company noted in January.

The name’s luster has this year already been burnished by two significant developments for the company. On January 25, the French Nuclear Safety Authority (Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire [ASN]) gave Framatome and EDF the green light to resume manufacture of forgings for the French nuclear fleet at its 2006-purchased Le Creusot site (Figure 4), which was taken offline following the French regulator’s 2015 discovery of an anomaly in the composition in certain zones of the Flamanville EPR pressure vessel head and bottom head. In 2016, a quality audit identified “irregularities” in paperwork on nearly 400 plant components produced at the forge since 1965. Preventative measures ordered by ASN stemming from that debacle in December 2016 shut down more than half of France’s reactor fleet, sending contract prices across Europe soaring.

Also, on January 25, Framatome finalized and launched Enfission, a 50-50 joint venture with Lightbridge Corp., to commercialize the U.S. fuel technology developer’s metallic fuel. Lightbridge says that the “seed-and-blanket” design can safely operate at increased power density compared to standard uranium oxide fuel. For Framatome, which provides next-generation fuel assembly designs to more than 100 of about 260 light water reactors around the world, the partnership will strengthen its position in the global fuel market.

As part of restructuring efforts in June 2016, meanwhile, AREVA also created a separate company focused on the nuclear cycle, which it called, simply, “New Company” (NewCo). On January 23, that company was renamed “Orano.” The name is derived from Ouranos, a Greek god who personifies the heavens and was father of the Titans, and who in Roman mythology became “Uranus.” In 1789, German chemist and mineralogist Martin Heinrich Klaproth named his newly discovered rare metallic element “uranium” for the planet Uranus, which had also been recently found.

For Orano, the name is important because it “symbolizes a new start,” said CEO Philippe Knoche in January. “We have big ambitions for Orano, namely for it to become the leader in the production and recycling of nuclear materials, waste management, and dismantling within the next ten years.” Knoche also said, however, that the company’s name is written in lower case because the prospect of rebuilding a profitable operation will be done “with humility.” For now, the company’s operations will bank on reprocessing and nuclear growth in Asia rather than investing in new mines, owing to low prices of uranium, which have slipped 80% over the last decade as the nuclear sector sees a general slowdown.


March 2, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, France, marketing of nuclear, politics, technology | Leave a comment

Damning report accuses UK government on the collapse of contract to clean up redundant fleet of Magnox nuclear reactors.

Telegraph 28th Feb 2018, The Government must share the blame for the bungling of a multi-billion
pound nuclear clean-up contract after failing to protect taxpayers from
spiraling costs, MPs have said.

In a damning report the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accused the Government of being “culpable” in the
collapse of a contract to clean up Britain’s redundant fleet of Magnox
nuclear reactors. The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority’s £6.1bn deal was
aborted almost a year ago after it bungled how the 14 year contract was
awarded to the Cavendish Fluor Partnership (CFP) formed by Babcock and

The botched award led to a two year High Court legal battle which
effectively put taxpayers on the hook to pay £122m in compensation to
companies who bid for the Magnox work but failed to get it. The
committee’s report blamed the NDA for running “an overly complex
procurement process” which ultimately ended nine years early.

The NDA also drastically under-estimated the scale of the work needed to
decommission the sites at the time it awarded the contract, the report
said. The PAC said the debacle had caused “untold reputational damage” to
the NDA, but it added that the Government must share the blame for
approving the authority’s approach. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, the
committee’s deputy chair, branded the contract “an appalling piece of
mismanagement and financial waste” which had cost the taxpayer over
£122m. The committee has asked the NDA to update MPs within three months
on its investigation into whether it overpaid its previous contractor and,
if so, how it planned to recover money.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

“Appalling” mismanagement by UK’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA)

Morning Star 28th Feb 2018, CATALOGUE of “appalling” mismanagement costing hundreds of millions of
pounds in taxpayers’ cash has been revealed by an investigation into the
government’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA). The NDA handed out
contracts to private firms for the decommissioning of 11 ageing Magnox
nuclear reactors in British power stations, including Sellafield in Cumbria
and Hinkley A in Somerset.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | secrets,lies and civil liberties, UK | Leave a comment

Unknown – whether there were nuclear missiles on Russian ship that was ravaged by fire

Bellona 27th Feb 2018, A Russian official has admitted there were missiles aboard the
Yekaterinburg nuclear submarine when it was ravaged by fire during repair
work at a shipyard near Murmansk in late 2011, reviving a six year old
mystery about what specific dangers faced the Russian public when the
accident occurred.

And while many Russian media rushed to report the
official’s remarks as conclusive proof that the submarine was armed with
nuclear missiles when it was swept by the blaze, it remains unclear whether
they, in fact, had been topped with their warheads at the time the fire
swept through the sub, injuring 19.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Russia | Leave a comment

Plan to seal off South end of USA’s Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Project

South end of WIPP to be sealed. But how?  Adrian C Hedden, Carlsbad Current-Argus March 1, 2018 Officials are hoping to seal off the south end of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s underground salt mine, where radiation was accidentally released in 2014, to allay safety concerns and ensure workers have clean air and stable ground in the future.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

SNC-Lavalin Named In Panama Papers

 Daniel Tencer, The Huffington Post Canada   Canadian construction and engineering giant SNC-Lavalin, already embroiled in corruption scandals in numerous countries around the world, can add one more black mark to its reputation: It has been named in the Panama Papers leak of offshore accounts, according to news reports.

Among the 11.5 million files in the Panama Papers were documents showing SNC-Lavalin paid a company in the Caribbean nearly $22 million to help secure contracts in Algeria, according to an investigation by the CBC and The Toronto Star.

The two news outlets are the Canadian partners of the consortium that has released the Panama Papers.

SNC landed $4 billion-worth of contracts in Algeria over the span of a decade.

The CBC reports that the setup described in the Panama Papers is similar to how SNC-Lavalin operated in Libya, where the company has been accused of bribery.

The RCMP laid charges against SNC-Lavalin last year, alleging the company offered some $47 million in bribes to Libyan officials in the hopes of securing work there between 2001 and 2011.

It also alleged the company committed fraud worth $130 million in its dealings in Libya for paying bribes so it could secure contracts for infrastructure projects there.

A former SNC vice-president, Riadh Ben Aissa, was convicted of bribery in a Swiss court in relation to the Libyan allegations.

SNC is now suing Aissa and ex-employee Sami Bebawi for $127 million. It alleges that both of them used offshore accounts, as well as the company’s Libyan commissions, to bribe people and funnel money to their families, the Star reports………

The numerous allegations against SNC-Lavalin and its subsidiaries helped Canada dominate a World Bank blacklist of corrupt companies. …….

March 2, 2018 Posted by | Canada, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Russia sucking India, Bangladesh, into its nuclear marketing empire

India, Russia, Bangladesh sign tripartite pact for civil nuclear cooperation, By Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury, ET BureauMar 01, 2018,  NEW DELHI: In a landmark development India for the first time signed a tripartite agreement on Thursday with foreing partners — Russia & Bangladesh — for civil nuclear cooperation.

Nuclear Power Cooperation of India Limited (NPCIL) will play a key role in building a nuclear power plant on foreign soil with the proposed supply of equipment and material for the power station being built by Russia in Bangladesh. India is also extending support for capacity building and has been training Bangladeshi nuclear scientists for the project.

The agreement was signed in Moscow on Thursday by Deputy Director General of Rosatom (Russia’s Alex civil nuclear body) Nikolay Spassky, Ambassador of Bangladesh in Russia S.M. Saiful Hoque and Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran.

Rosatom is constructing nuclear power plant in Bangladesh on a turnkey contract basis. The scope of work includes design, production and supply of equipment, construction, installation, pre-commissioning and commissioning, according to Rosatom officials.

India, having experience in building its nuclear power stations and operating the Kudankulam Plant, built with Russian assistance, showed interest in participating in a Russian project in Bangladesh.  The Memorandum set a framework for the interaction of the Russian Contractor, Indian and Bangladeshi experts in the implementation of the project. ……..

March 2, 2018 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to keep Britain in EU internal energy market (IEM) and in Euratom

Edie 27th Feb 2018, Jeremy Corbyn has pledged that Labour would keep Britain in the EU internal
energy market (IEM) and the Euratom nuclear co-operation treaty. In a
landmark speech setting out his party’s stance on the UK’s future
trading relationships following Brexit, the opposition leader said it was
in Britain’s interests to remain part of Euratom. He said: “We will
want to remain a part of agencies like Euratom, regulating nuclear
materials in energy and health sectors.” The Labour leader also used his
speech to signal Labour will seek continued UK membership of the IEM to
help support the development of the low carbon energy sector. He said
barrier-free trade of low carbon goods is necessary to underpin the growth
of the UK’s low carbon and renewable energy sectors.

March 2, 2018 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment