During the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE) 2023 in Paris, EDF Group signed several industrial cooperation agreements intended to secure the involvement of local supply chains and industries for the deployment of future EPR-technology-based and Nuward small modular reactor (SMR) projects in Europe and worldwide. These included agreements with Canada’s Ontario Power Group (OPG), various Czech companies and India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL).
According to Luc Rémont, EDF Chairman & CEO, the signing of these agreements demonstrates EDF’s ambition to secure robust partnerships with local supply chains for its EPR and Nuward technology. “We envision the same approach in any country where we promote our technologies with the profound objective to set-up a community of qualified European and worldwide suppliers and I look forward to seeing these cooperations materialising for the successful delivery of our nuclear newbuild worldwide,” he said.
EDF and OPG signed a Letter of Interest to engage in a joint evaluation for the potential development of EPR technology in Ontario and other parts of Canada. EDF led a Canadian-French Supply Chain Workshop at the WNE attended by more than 20 Canadian and French participants, including AECON, Assystem, Bouygues Travaux Publics, Bruce Power, BWXT, Framatome, GE Vernova and OPG.
OPG President & CEO Ken Hartwick said the two companies will initially explore the technical and licensing requirements for EPR technology deployment within Canada’s regulatory landscape. “They will also seek to understand the potential to leverage Ontario and Canada’s robust nuclear supply chain, to ensure maximum benefit to the provincial economy, should an EDF reactor be deployed in Canada.”
Several cooperation agreements were signed with Czech companies for the delivery of the Dukovany 5 NPP. Cooperation agreements were signed with the Czech Power Industry Alliance (CPIA), ADAMEC, EnerSys, ISH Pumps, KLIKA BP, LDM, and Nopo Engineering. EDF said these agreements further underscore its “ambition to secure maximal local value and investment for the delivery of its potential project in the Czech Republic”.
In the context of an earlier decision to build the six EPR units at India’s Jaitapur NPP (JNPP) project in Maharashtra, and in support of the “Make in India” initiative promoted by the Indian government, EDF said it “continues to build partnerships with Indian suppliers as part of its sound localisation strategy”. EDF signed a memorandum of cooperation with BHEL, the largest Power Sector EPC Company in India, “to collaborate with an intent to maximize the local content of the Jaitapur project”. EDF and BHEL will also explore further collaboration for the EPRs and for Nuward SMR.
In regulatory filings with India’s National Stock Exchange (NSE) and Bombay Stock Exchange, BHEL said that it will “explore the opportunity to maximise the local content of the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Plant Project (6×1650 MWe units) to be established by NPCIL [Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd] in India”. The JNPP project was first discussed in 2011 but made little progress due to concerns about economics and safety, local opposition, and the collapse of France’s Areva. In 2018, EDF and NPCIL signed an “industrial way forward” agreement for the project. In 2021 EDF submitted to NPCIL its binding techno-commercial offer to build the six reactors. However, the project has been slowed by several issues, including liability and the high cost of power per unit.
During WNE, EDF also signed an international cooperation agreement with global engineering and construction company Egis whereby Egis will support EDF's localisation approach for its international projects. Egis is already engaged with EDF in the UK (Hinkley Point C) and in Poland and envisages the establishment with EDF and other partners of an engineering platform in India.