Atmea is a joint venture between Mitsubishi and Areva that will develop, market, license and sell a new generation III pressurized water reactor. A memorandum of understanding between the two companies effectively creating the entity was signed 19 October 2006 and the name of the joint venture was announced on 3 September 2007. The European Commission cleared the joint venture in October 2007 on the grounds that the activities of Areva and MHI are geographically complementary and Atmea was unlikely to strengthen the competitiveness of each parent company.
Mitsubishi has been known in the nuclear industry largely for its contribution of components to construction of many plants around the world. It even provided forgings for the Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant that Areva is currently constructing in Finland.
The ATMEA1 reactor is a 1100 MWe generation III+ pressurized water reactor with three coolant loops. The design has high thermal efficiency, a 60-year service life and a load-following capability so output can be adapted according to demand.
The former CEO of Areva, Anne Lauvergeon made the statement "By founding Atmea, we combine the experience of two leaders in reactor development, construction, licensing and marketing. We thus provide the ideal framework for the development and sale of a reactor whose size fits into almost every grid."
Correspondingly, Mitsubishi's president, Kazuo Tsukuda commented that "By bringing together the state-of-the-art technologies of both companies, we are confident that Atmea 1 will be the leading plant in the mid-size reactor range, and will be successful in attracting interest from our clients."
Both companies have other reactor designs that boast the largest power outputs yet planned. The Mitsubishi's APWR is slated to have a power of 1700 MWe while Areva's European Pressurized Reactor currently under construction will have an output of 1600 MWe, but later units could be scaled up further. The ATMEA1, having a lower power, is targeted to attract a different market for both companies.
On 7 July 2008 the IAEA completed the review of the conceptual safety design features for the ATMEA1.
In 2010 the French nuclear safety authority, Autorité de sûreté nucléaire, agreed to review the ATMEA1 safety features, and make the results available to potential customers and their safety authorities.
On 3 May 2013, Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, signed a US$22 billion deal for the construction of the Sinop Nuclear Power Plant in Turkey. The project will be carried out by a joint venture consortium of Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and French Areva. The plant will comprise four ATMEA1 reactors. Construction is planned to begin in 2017, with the first unit in operation by 2023.
Aside from the ATMEA1 reactor, the joint venture is expected to allow cooperation in equipment procurement, services, used nuclear fuel management, and development of fast-breeder and high-temperature reactors. Mitsubishi is currently developing Mitsubishi FBR Systems, which will specialize in fast breeder technology.
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- "The ATMEA1 reactor". Nuclear Engineering International. 20 April 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
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- NucNet News. IAEA Completes Conceptual Safety Review Of Atmea-1 Reactor Design.
- "ASN, the French Nuclear Safety Authority, is launching the safety options' review of the ATMEA1 reactor". Atmea. 8 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Patel, Tara (19 January 2011). "French Atmea Would Make Reactor ‘Credible’ Export, GDF Suez Says". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 June 2011.
- Hacaoglu, Selcan; Tara Patel (3 May 2013). "Mitsubishi, Areva Sign $22b Turkish Nuclear Plant Deal". Bloomberg. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
- "Nuclear Power in China". World Nuclear Association. 2 July 2010. Retrieved 18 July 2010.
- Geert De Clercq and Benjamin Mallet (28 February 2013). "Areva sticks with plan to build 10 nuclear reactors by 2016". Reuters. Retrieved 7 March 2013.