Innovative Reactors: French Government Announces Six New Startup Winners of the Project Call

Ahead of the major nuclear industry event, the World Nuclear Exhibition (WNE), the French government announced six new winners of the “innovative reactors” project call under the France 2030 investment plan. The companies will receive financial support of 77.2 million euros, coupled with 18.9 million euros of technical support from the CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission).

The office of the Minister of Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, reaffirmed its support for nuclear power, placing it “at the heart of the French strategy”. “The country assumes its role as a world leader in civilian nuclear power […] with a unifying approach in Europe,” the office stated, referencing the Nuclear Alliance and the desire to create an SMR (Small Modular Reactor) Alliance on the continent. “Reviving nuclear power serves a comprehensive industrial policy,” emphasized the Ministry of Industry.

In an “effort to transform and open up to young innovative companies initiated by France 2030”, the French government unveiled six new winners on November 27, 2023: Jimmy Energy (High-Temperature Reactor (HTR)), Renaissance Fusion (Stellarator Nuclear Fusion), Calogéna (Light Water Reactor), Hexana (Fast Neutron Reactor Cooled by Sodium), Otrera Nuclear Energy (Fast Neutron Reactor Cooled by Sodium), and Blue Capsule (High-Temperature Reactor with Sodium Heat Carrier) – Find the presentations of the different projects in the hyperlink. These new players will benefit from financial support of 77.2 million euros, coupled with 18.9 million euros of technical support from the CEA.

As a reminder, in June 2023, Naarea (Fast Neutron Reactor with Molten Salt Coolant) and Newcleo (Fast Neutron Reactor with Lead Coolant) were awarded. Moreover, the SMR Nuward, led by EDF, had received state support from the project’s inception. Finally, the relevant ministries continue to review files while 15 applications had been recorded in June 2023.

The two ministries also announced the first eight winners of the major nuclear attractiveness contest, in partnership with the Nuclear Industry University (UMN): BP320, Kellal Maintenance, Aforia, Orano, and the groups Institut de soudure, DNS, and EDF.■

Gaïc Le Gros (Sfen)

Photo: French President Emmanuel Macron announces the France 2030, 2021 investment plan – © Présidence de la République