France’s Framatome, global testing, inspection and certification company Bureau Veritas and UK-based announced on 2 March that they had signed an agreement on 13 February to form an alliance, Equalle, to provide nuclear equipment qualification services in the UK.
Framatome said in a statement: "The Equalle members, by joining their complementary skills, experience and global yet local footprint, aim to support the nuclear industry with expertise and technologies to execute appropriate nuclear qualification in an optimised way.”
The alliance is targeted at “supporting the challenge of nuclear equipment qualification for the benefit of new build projects and in-service reactors” in the UK.
The ambition of Equalle “is to contribute to nuclear safety while reducing risks, costs and securing project schedules”, a statement said. Thomas Epron, VP Global Sales, Framatome’s Installed Base Business Unit, said: “With the Hinkley Point C project and together with our Equalle partners, Framatome will strongly contribute to the success of nuclear projects in the United Kingdom”.
Laurent Kueny, Bureau Veritas VP Nuclear Services, said the alliance “will strongly increase confidence in equipment qualification testing and certification for nuclear new build projects in the UK." Doosan Babcock Director Asset Management Andy Ward said the Equalle partners would “provide nuclear new build developers with the reassurance that they and their supply chains will meet the regulatory equipment qualification needs so keeping the overall programme on schedule”.
Framatome also announced on 28 February that it completed its purchase of Schneider Electric’s nuclear instrumentation and control offering. “With the integration of Schneider Electric’s nuclear instrumentation and control offering, we offer truly added value to our customers with global technical expertise and market know-how on I&C solutions for the nuclear market,” said Framatome CEO and Chairman Bernard Fontana. The acquisition adds the nuclear-qualified version of Tricon and the SPEC 200 platform to Framatome’s nuclear safety I&C offerings, which include the TELEPERM XS digital platform, and non-computerised analogue solutions and instrumentation for nuclear plants.
Framatome also becomes the exclusive service provider to the nuclear energy market for the SPEC 200, nuclear-qualified Tricon and Foxboro systems.
Framatome was recently established as part of the reorganisation of France’s Areva Group. In December EDF became majority owner of Areva’s New NP, which combined the former Areva Group’s activities relating to the design and manufacturing of nuclear reactors and equipment, fuel assemblies and reactor services. In January 2018, EDF renamed New NP as Framatome, which had been France’s leading nuclear reactor manufacturer before it was merged with nuclear fuel group Cogema to form Areva in 2001.