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US nuclear reactor plans announced

A project to develop new-generation nuclear reactors in Central Valley, California, will be carried out by Areva and the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group (FNEG).

French nuclear engineering firm Areva announced the plans to build either one or two reactors, and added that FNEG is aiming to acquire the European Pressurised Reactor technology (EPR).

Construction work on EPR reactors is already underway in France, Finland and China.

But the project in Finland has been plagued by problems since the start. The 1,600MW EPR unit was due to be completed by 2012, but Areva has said the cost and completion date of the project is now uncertain.

In California, it said that next year the two companies will begin a series of studies identifying the most feasible site for a new nuclear power plant, and will work together on the initial development and permitting process.

Areva said that six companies-Constellation, PPL, AmerenUE, Amarillo Power, AEHI and Duke Energy-have chosen the EPR for a total of eight potential reactor construction projects, pending US certification.

Financial terms of what Areva dubbed a “letter of intent to formalize cooperation” with FNEG weren’t disclosed.

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