Fuel, R&D, maintenance… Framatome signs a cooperation agreement with Hungary

On 12 September 2023, Framatome signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Hungarian Ministry of Energy to develop a global strategic relationship in the nuclear field, and in particular fuel.

In a Framatome press release published on 12 September, the French company announced the signing of an agreement aimed to “facilitate the extension of the cooperation between Framatome and Hungary in various domains of interest in nuclear such as education and competencies, R&D, the implementation of new technologies, fuel supply and related nuclear materials, as well as long-term operation”. Hungary currently has one nuclear power plant with four units and a total capacity of 2 GW. It will provide 47% of the country’s electricity production in 2022. The first reactor, commissioned between 1982 and 1987, has just passed the 40-year mark.

“Framatome is strongly engaged in supporting Hungary’s nuclear industry and energy policy, and this new agreement further bears witness to the trust our customers have placed in our robust and reliable expertise and integrated supply chain over the years,” explains Bernard Fontana, CEO of Framatome. “This MOU confirms our commitment to contribute to the diversification and security of fuel supply for the safe and reliable operation of the existing nuclear fleet and for preparing for the next generation of nuclear energy”.

Framatome recalls the long-standing cooperation for the operation and maintenance of the Hungarian plant and its presence in the country through its subsidiary Framatome Kft.

Offering a solution to Russian reactor operators

Hungary has 4 of the 19 Russian-technology reactors (VVER pressurised water reactors) in operation in Europe. There are 15 440 MW VVER reactors in Finland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Four VVER-1000 units are also in operation in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. “At the initiative and with the cooperation of European VVER licensees, Framatome is looking for a solution to eliminate difficulties in the supply of critical services and to reduce risks and import exposure,” Framatome points out.

“For several years now, Framatome has been developing an industrial solution to support the short- and mid-term needs of VVER nuclear operators for both VVER 1000 MW and VVER 440 MW reactors,” said Lionel Gaiffe, senior executive vice president of the Fuel Business Unit at Framatome. “In the short-term, Framatome will provide the proven and incumbent design and in the mid-term, Framatome is the only fuel supplier able to guarantee a sovereign European solution, with a fully-European design, manufacturing and components supply chain, thanks to our longstanding, proven expertise and track records”. ■

Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

Photo ©Framatome