Atmea is a joint venture between Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Areva that develops, markets, licenses and sells the ATMEA1 reactor, a new generation III+, medium-power pressurized water reactor (PWR). The company is headquartered in Paris.
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.
Following financial difficulties at Areva, MHI announced in 2015 it will make a proposal to take a minority ownership stake in Areva. In Jun 2016 Électricité de France, Areva NP's new owner, and MHI signed a memorandum of understanding, which may lead to MHI taking a stake in Areva NP and further joint development of Atmea.
Andreas Goebel is the Atmea Company’s President and CEO. Satoshi Utsumi is the company’s Deputy CEO.
The ATMEA1 reactor
The ATMEA1 reactor is a 1100 MWe generation III+ pressurized water reactor with three coolant loops and a thermal power level of 3,150 MWth. The design has high thermal efficiency (typically 10% higher than currently operating reactors), a 60-year service life and a load-following capability. The reactor can be set to a 12- to 24 month operational cycle.
The ATMEA1 reactor’s systems and components were previously developed by AREVA and MHI for the EPR and APWR, including steam generators with axial economizer and TT690 tubes, advanced accumulators and reactor internals with Heavy Neutron Reflector.
The ATMEA1 safety features include three redundant trains of emergency core cooling systems and a core-melt retention system.
With a power output of 1100 Mwe, the ATMEA1, is targeted to attract new-entry countries looking to develop nuclear power. In comparison, 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.
In 2013, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) released a pre-project design review of the ATMEA1 reactor and found the design compliant with CNSC regulatory requirements and expectations for new nuclear power plants in Canada.
In 2012 the French Nuclear Safety Authority, (Autorité de sûreté nucléaire or ASN), released a report finding the safety options and design choice of the ATMEA1 satisfactory and in compliance with French regulations.
On 7 July 2008 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) completed the review of the conceptual safety design features for the ATMEA1. The report concluded that the ATMEA1 conceptual design addresses the IAEA’s fundamental safety principles and key design and safety assessment requirements.
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. Plans for the 4800 MWe plant were ratified by Turkey’s government in April 2015. Ownership of the plant will be split between a consortium of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Itochu, and France’s Areva and GDF Suez with 51%, and Turkey’s state-run power producer EUAS with 49%. The plant will comprise four ATMEA1 reactors. Construction is planned to begin in 2017, with the first unit in operation by 2023.
Areva is building two EPRs at the Taishan site in Guangdong province, China. It signed a strategic agreement with China National Nuclear Corporation in March 2014.
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