French utility EDF's board of directors on Wednesday approved the merger of its engineering division with that of AREVA NP to form nuclear island and reactor control systems business Edvance. The board approved the new entity, which would be responsible for nuclear island design, implementation and procurement issues, as well as manufacturing and commissioning support.
EDF is set up to own 80 percent of Edvance, while AREVA NP, which is struggling financially, will own 20 percent. The company, however, will be its own entity, separate from the purchase of New AREVA NP, which is expected by the end of the year.
AREVA NP will remain focused on primary circuit, safety systems and nuclear instrumentation. Edvance, meanwhile, draws on both of France's primary nuclear power companies. “This combining of forces will help our industry work better and more efficiently when it comes to building new nuclear power plants, thus making sure it is more competitive domestically and in international markets,” said EDF Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Bernard Levy.
EDF is a key player in AREVA's restructuring. It is expected to purchase up to 75 percent of AREVA's reactor division, which was split off into its own subsidiary New Areva NP. The purchase has been backed by a $5 billion capital injection offered by the French government. Both Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited have offered to purchase 5 percent of NewCo each for sums of $250 million. A similar deal was presented to Areva and EDF by Frency engineering firm Assystem, according to the World Nuclear Association.
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