Cogema's George Besse enrichment plant, operated by Eurodif at Tricastin, is "in the future" to be replaced by centrifuges, Areva announced on 9 October.
Areva said it had signed a memorandum of agreement with Urenco to work together on centrifuge development. Co-operation would include design and construction of centrifuges as well as R&D, in a 50:50 joint venture.
A final agreement on the joint venture is expected soon. The decision by Areva to invest in centrifuge technology marks the end of a long investment in enrichment by gaseous diffusion.
Cogema and Urenco will continue to compete in producing and marketing enriched uranium.