Enrichment: AREVA inaugurates the first cascade at its Georges Besse II plant
The plant, built on the Tricastin nuclear site in Southern France began construction less than three years ago. It will comprise two enrichment units and will produce 7.5 million SWUs (separative work units) by the time it reaches full capacity in 2016.
This project will enhance AREVA's position as a major player on the world's enrichment market, on which it has almost a 25% share.
The centrifuge enrichment process applied on the site is a major technological accomplishment as it uses 50 times less electricity than gaseous diffusion used until now in France.
With a price tag of three billion euros, the George Besse II plant is one of the largest industrial investment projects currently underway in France. The worksite has been a source of major employment in France and in particular in the regions near the site (Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Languedoc-Roussillon).
The George Besse II plant demonstrates AREVA's capacity to carry out a highly complex project with maximal safety and security conditions while respecting the works' timetable. Up to 1,500 people will be involved in building the two units over a ten-year period.
Speaking at the end of the ceremony, Anne Lauvergeon described the Georges Besse II enrichment plant as "a symbol of AREVA's determination to strengthen its position as world leader on the nuclear energy market and offer its customers the best solutions," adding that "the group is continuing to invest, develop and recruit, bringing the entire industrial activity with it."
All over the world, AREVA provides its customers with solutions for carbon-free power generation and electricity transmission. With its knowledge and expertise in these fields, the group has a leading role to play in meeting the world's energy needs. Ranked first in the global nuclear power industry, AREVA's unique integrated offering covers every stage of the fuel cycle, reactor design and construction, and related services. In addition, the group is expanding its operations in renewable energies, including biomass, wind power and fuel cells. AREVA is also a world leader in electricity transmission and distribution and offers its customers a complete range of solutions for greater grid stability and energy efficiency. Sustainable development is a core component of the group's industrial strategy. Its 75,000 employees work every day to make AREVA a responsible industrial player that is helping to supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical energy to the greatest number of people.