France’s Framatome is planning the construction of a nuclear fuel fabrication facility in the UK and is evaluating targeted local industrial sites in consultation with the UK Government’s Department for Energy Security & Net-Zero (DESNZ) and EDF.

The current assessment of selected existing and former nuclear generation sites precedes detailed site justification and pre-licensing studies expected to be engaged in 2024 under the guidance of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR).

The project is part of Framatome’s strategy to scale up operations in the UK in preparation for the new generation of nuclear reactors. The facility will manufacture nuclear fuel for large pressurised water reactors (PWRs) and light water small modular reactors (SMRs) to supply the future UK nuclear fleet and to support wider deployment of SMRs in Europe. EDF is currently building two EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C, with a further two planned at Sizewell C. The UK government recently announced the preselection of six SMR designs with the aim of delivering operational reactors by mid-2030.

Framatome CEO Bernard Fontana said the multi-design fuel fabrication facility will help reduce UK reliance on imports and strengthen security of fuel supply through a diverse and resilient supply chain”.

DESNZ is being aided by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) which is supporting the government’s energy security strategy. The NDA is tasked with decommissioning the UK’s legacy nuclear sites to free up the land for other uses.

Framatome supports the maintenance and long-term operation of existing plants in the UK and is participating in the construction of the new EPR reactors at Hinkley Point C and the future Sizewell C plant. The company is expanding its workforce and activities in the UK. The company recently acquired both Efinor and BHR, and works closely with Edvance UK.

Image courtesy of Framatome