Areva NP US, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based Areva Inc and US-based nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge Corp on 6 September signed a binding agreement for a 50-50 joint venture to commercialise and manufacture a new line of advanced metallic fuel for nuclear plants. Lightbridge developed the fuel, which it says can be used in existing plants and new facilities under construction to improve operating efficiency and safety.  The joint venture is expected to be launched in early 2018 and the final operating agreement is expected before the end of the year. The two companies began working on the joint venture in 2016.

France’s Areva is phasing out its participation in nuclear plant design and construction and is selling its new nuclear operations in stages to  Électricité de France. Areva is focusing on its nuclear fuel manufacturing and service operations as well as providing products and services to support the other segments of commercial nuclear operations. Its Areva Nuclear Materials division works with the entire nuclear fuel cycle, from raw materials to waste management. Areva Inc, the North American operations for Areva, moved to Charlotte in 2013. The planned joint venture will expand the fuels it offers for most reactor types, including pressurised water, boiling water, light water-cooled and research reactors.