France-based Areva plans California nuclear plant

AP News
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Posted: Dec 29, 2009 1:12 PM

French nuclear engineering company Areva SA said Tuesday that it plans to work with Fresno Nuclear Energy Group on developing one or two new-generation reactors in California's Central Valley.

Areva said FNEG is a group of investors that wants to acquire the so-called EPR, or European Pressurized Reactor, technology for California.

EPR reactors are under construction in France, Finland and China, and the certification process is under way in the United States and Britain.

Areva has been plagued by delays in Finland, where the first EPR was supposed to be online this year. The last deadline for the 1,600-megawatt EPR unit was 2012 but Areva has since said the project's final cost and completion date remain uncertain.

In California, Areva said that next year the two companies will begin a series of studies identifying the most feasible site for a new nuclear power plant, and will work together on the initial development and permitting process.

Areva said that six companies _ Constellation, PPL, AmerenUE, Amarillo Power, AEHI and Duke Energy _ have chosen the EPR for a total of eight potential reactor construction projects, pending U.S. certification.

Financial terms of what Areva dubbed a "letter of intent to formalize cooperation" with FNEG weren't disclosed.