France’s NAAREA, which is developing 4th generation micro-nuclear power, and international engineering group Assystem have signed a cooperation agreement to build an ultra-compact micro-nuclear power generator, the XSMR.

Assystem will provide project management, permitting, integration and engineering services. Assystem will provide NAAREA with its historical experience in the nuclear sector as well as its expertise in digital engineering aimed at better controlling the complexity of projects through the management and use of industrial data.

Assystem will develop a digital twin of the reactor to model and simulate its behaviour. This twin will enable rapid convergence towards the optimal design, provide critical elements for validating the design and enable the rapid launch of the construction of the physical prototype. In addition, Assystem will draw on its knowledge of highly regulated environments, to support NAAREA in the development of this new technology in compliance with the nuclear normative framework.

Jean-Luc Alexandre, co-founder of NAAREA said: “The agreement we are signing with Assystem today is the concrete realisation of a collaboration that has been underway for several months and is already bearing fruit. It is a fundamental step in the progress of the NAAREA project, alongside a reference player who supports and adheres to our desire to participate in the sustainable transformation of our societies by mobilising consciences around this equitable ideal.”

Stéphane Aubarbier, COO of Assystem said: “We are delighted to formalise our commitment to NAAREA and to support this innovative and disruptive project. Assystem’s mission is to develop decarbonised sources of electricity production throughout the world to combat climate change. As such, Advanced Modular Reactors represent an additional technology alongside high power reactors, SMRs and renewable energies to accelerate the energy transition. We are proud to provide NAAREA with our nuclear and digital expertise to support its growth.”

The XSMR (eXtra Small Modular Reactor) is an ultra-compact, 1-40MW micro power plant that uses the untapped potential of used radioactive materials, and thorium. NAAREA expects the first units to be produced by 2030.