There will be healthy competition in the European Union’s nuclear energy sector despite the joint venture of Framatome and Siemens, the European Commission believes, because it has tied conditions to approval of the deal. The EC said that “sufficient safeguards are now in place to ensure that a competitive process in the markets for fuel assemblies will be maintained”. The joint venture will focus on developing fuel assemblies for PWRs in the EU.
The EC insisted that rival Cogéma abandoned plans to be part of the joint venture, and has also pushed Eléctricité de France into selling its stake in Framatome and opening up its procurement policy. This ensures, said the Commission, that the EU’s largest nuclear energy market “becomes accessible to competitors of the new joint venture”.
EdF said that it will abandon Siemans as a secondary supplier of PWRs and will look for new supplier, possibly the Anglo-American group BNFL/Westinghouse/ABB or Spanish company ENUSA.
The Commission also said that it was happy with the pledges from France to ensure that EdF will “systemetically launch calls for tenders for all its supplies of fuel assemblies”, and that it would “provide all possible assistance to shorten the qualification process for new types of fuel assemblies”.
Promises from the French government “to see to it that EdF sells its participation in Framatome” were welcomed by the Commission, which said: “This withdrawal significantly helps EdF in implementing its new procurement policy independently from Framatome's business decisions concerning PWR fuel assembly supplies”.