French utility EDF and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) on 28 June signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for collaboration in civil nuclear power. This includes MHI taking a stake in Areva NP and joint development of the Atmea reactor design. In a joint statement, the companies said the signing of the MOU "is a strategic move to strengthen the links between the French and Japanese nuclear power industries, recognising the strategic interest to combine in certain fields of civil nuclear energy the strengths of EDF and MHI."
In late July 2015, EDF and Areva announced they had signed an MOU setting out the principal terms and conditions for EDF to take a majority share in Areva's reactor business, Areva NP. Under the MOU, EDF and MHI will look at "the potential participation of MHI as a partner in the French nuclear landscape reorganisation with the acquisition of a minority equity interest in Areva NP."
EDF and MHI also plan to establish an updated cooperation framework regarding the Atmea partnership between Areva and MHI, "including the involvement of EDF in Atmea's business operations". The Atmea joint venture was established in September 2007 to develop, market, license and sell the Atmea 1 reactor design: an 1,100MWe pressurized water reactor combining technologies from both companies.
EDF and MHI said they will seek the "smooth execution" of Atmea 1 projects, particularly in Turkey and Vietnam. Turkey's second NPP, at Sinop on its Black Sea coast, is proposed to feature four Atmea 1 reactors supplied by Areva and MHI. Ownership of the 4,800MWe plant is to be split between a consortium of Japan's Mitsubishi and Itochu, and France's Areva and GDF Suez, with 65%, and Turkey's state-run power producer EUAS, with 35%. Construction was expected to start in 2017, assuming approval of an environmental impact assessment.
Japan is hoping to export two reactors to Vietnam and last year the Japanese government reportedly recommended Atmea 1. Vietnam has yet to make a decision on the plant, which will be its second NPP. Russia is to build the first one. The MOU also covers a "potential broader range of collaborative ties leveraging the respective technologies and special expertise in the global market."