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Expansion of the French nuclear industry in Central & Eastern Europe (CEE) and in Ex-USSR

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The Head Honchos of the French nuclear industry

The French industry exporting its problems: arguments for the deconstruction of myths

Countries involved


Our first idea was to provide NGOs with information regarding the involvement of the French nuclear industry in accession countries to the European Union. After some research, it became obvious that it shouldn't be limited to central and eastern Europe but extended to the former Soviet Union. This aims to empower the anti nuclear groups by giving them a picture of who they are fighting against.

The Chernobyl accident and the fall of the iron curtain drew a new landscape for the marketing of nuclear technologies. With the decline of the market in the west (with few exceptions -the EPR and a couple of new generators in France) moving East, was for the French industry the last chance to survive. The French sector got on the train in time and started to aggressively pursue opportunities.

The present paper provides with an overview of the participation of the French nuclear firms aiming to draft the trends of their expansion. We've presented information as recent as possible looking at the past 2 years and focusing on upcoming projects.
We found information in specialised press, international media, press releases of the nuclear industry itself, TACIS and PHARE programmes and from Russian environmental groups.
The process of seeking information itself, was very challenging since the industry is, as we all know, very secretive with regards to public information.
We found it useful to first present the main actors of the sector, then to give arguments for the deconstruction of the industry's myths. It is helpful to have this background information in mind while reading through the presentation of activities per country.


Several ways of "getting their foot in the door"
France has been heavily involved in the alliance organised by the international community over the past 7 years with the aim of conquering markets in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and in Ex-USSR.

Areas of activity
Since the beginning of the 90's, taking advantage of the post communism heritage with the disastrous condition of the nuclear complex, and the international financing for nuclear safety intervention, France entered the breach, opening the path for new markets.
Once working at facilities, it is a foot in: the French engineers are then able to promote new business interests. The expansion of the French nuclear industry in the East is realised in the following domains:
- the upgrading of existing Soviet designed reactors,
- the completion of units under construction (EDF, Framatome, DSIN),
- the building of spent fuel storage and rehabilitation of uranium mines (COGEMA),
- the export of more and more electricity produced from nuclear power in France. EDF is already the largest exporter of electricity in Europe,
- the installation of electricity networks in CEE and Ex-USSR in collaboration with local companies.

The French nuclear industry has a finger in many pies. This they have achieved via consortia:
- with other European firms (Cassiopee, ENAC, EFCC and RBMK),
-with international institutions (IAEA, NEA, RAMG, WANO) and on their own.
They implement projects"within their own budget" (1) and they take part in ventures funded by the European Union (within the frame of PHARE and TACIS(2)) or funded by Euratom loans.

France's own contribution in supporting its nuclear industry's Eastern expansion
The following are ways in which France indirectly feeds money back towards its own nuclear industry:
Via EBRD's NSA :France is the largest donor in the world to the Nuclear Safety Account (NSA) within the EBRD The amount is ECU 56,9 millions (US$ 52 million)(3) The purpose of the NSA is to ensure short-term operational and safety improvements of VVER 440/230 and RBMK-type reactors, which should lead to their closure. But instead, grants have helped to extend the operating lifetime of these very reactors. It is clear that French nuclear companies benefit from NSA contract work, and have an interest in ensuring future markets for their services.
Via bilateral co-operation and via Euratom but numbers were not made available.
France also made an extra contribution to the IAEA, and experts have been made available to the Agency.

The Head Honchos of the French nuclear industry

EDF Electricité de France
EDF operates 58 reactors on 19 sites. It is the national electricity company founded in 1946.. Its annual budget for 1995 was US$ 32 billion. 120.000 persons work for EDF in France which is well supported by CGT Labor Union.
World wide: As of Dec. 1997, EDF had 8,5 million customers world-wide and had produced 11.457,7 billion Kwh in 1997 of which 82% was nuclear generated; The turn over amounts FF 186,5 billion (approx US$ 27 billion)
EDF exports nuclear electricity and connects grids
EDF has, for a long time, been exporting electricity to neighbouring countries and remains the largest electricity exporter in Europe. In 1995, 70 Twh (the equivalent of 12 reactors) was exported (making a profit of US$ 2,66 billion) to: Germany, Italy and the UK.
EDF's activities in CEE and Ex-USSR
EDF performs "so-called" nuclear safety at NPPs. The company has allocated FF 150 million (about US$ 26 million) each year since 1992 to nuclear safety in CEE;(4) this makes a total of FF 900 million allocated since 1992 in this area (US$ 130 million).
A few years ago, EDF became a share-holder of electricity companies located in CEE such as the Polish Elektrocieplownia Krakow (ECK SA), the Hungarian Demasz and Edasz, the Czech Zkusebnicti (laboratory). In total, EDF is involved in the operation of a 13 000 MW electricity complex. (5)
Since 1997, a consortium led by EDF has been in charge of the study concerning the connection of the electric grids of Ukraine, Belarus, Federation of Russia and Moldavia to the already connected grid of western and central Europe.

- Background
Framatome is a French supplier of nuclear facilities (reactor builder),fuel (PWR fuel assemblies) and nuclear services. It has built 66 reactors (PWR NSSSs) or nuclear islands around the globe (58 in France and 9 abroad)) based on the Westinghouse technology; 3 others are currently under construction: one in France and two in China's Guangdong Province.
- Its capital is majority public (51%) via CEA Inductee, EDF and CDR (Credit Lyonnais, a French Bank). The other share holders are: GEC-Alsthom (44%) and the workers (5%). 19.000 persons work for Framatome in 25 different countries
Its revenue(incl. taxes) for 1996 amounted FF 15.200 million (US$ 2.520 million)
One of its division the Interconnet Systems Group serves the nuclear power equipment.

- Framatome's activities in CEE and Ex-USSR:
The main activities of the group in CEE and Ex-USSR are to upgrade VVER reactors. Its main industrial partners are: Siemens and EDF. They usually operate with the European Community funding via TACIS and PHARE programmes within the framework of a consortium ENAC (European Nuclear Assistance Consortium) which has been driven by Framatome since its creation in 1992.
Since 1990, Siemens and Framatome have secured a total of 17 contracts from European nuclear power plants for the supply and/or replacement of steam generators. By today the consortium Siemens/ Framatome has topped ECU 500 million (US$ 455 million).(6)

It is a 50/50 joint venture of the British GEC (General Electricity Company) and the French Alcatel Alsthom. Its business areas are Defence electronics, Communications and Industrial electronics (high speed trains). In 1997, it had sale of (ECU 9,4 billion (US$ 8,5 billion); In June 1998, GEC and Alcatel Alsthom floated the company which was then renamed Alsthom. In June 98, GEC has acquired 40% stake in Siemens communication for £ 700 (US$ 1.148 million).

COGEMA -The Compagnie Générale des Matiéres Nucléaires ( The General Company for Nuclear Materials)
Cogema is a state controlled industrial group with the CEA(7) (89%) and the Total oil company (11%) participation. Its budget for the year 1995 was US$ 30.6 billion. COGEMA operates uranium mines, uranium enrichment facilities (Eurodif) and La Hague. In 1996, the consolidated sale revenues amounted FF 34,4 billion (US$ 4,9 billion).(8)

ANDRA - The Agence National pour la Gestion des Déchets Radioactifs (The National Agency for management of Radioactive Waste)
is a state-owned company in charge of the long lived radioactive waste, active since 1993 in Eastern countries through the Cassiopee consortium which includes NIREX (UK), DBE (GR), ONDRAF/NIRAS (Belg.), and Covra (ND). Cassiopee works under contract to the EU Commission and covers Bulgaria, Czech and Slovak Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.

Direction de la Sûreté des Installations Nucléaire -DSIN- (Nuclear Installation Safety Directorate )
The DSNI provides with funding and human resources in CEE and Ex-USSR through the European Union's RAMG programmes(9); It helps to improve operating safety on existing reactors, it provides funding for the short term upgrading of the least safe reactors, it improves safety inspection organisation in the Russian Federation, Slovenia,the Czech and Slovak Republic and Ukraine.(10)

The French industry exporting its problems:
arguments for deconstructing the myths

Because EDF's communication/marketing budget per year amounts several million French francs and not ours, and in order to dispel misconceptions often held on the competitivity, the reliability and the " no alternative solution" of the French nuclear industry, we would like to provide the readers with arguments for mythbusting.

Creating artificial demand growth...
In order to create a superficial market for the overcapacity produced by its 58 nuclear reactors, France authorities and EDF actively promotes highly unefficient demand side technologies, like electrical heating and air conditioning. But France also exports over 60 Twh electricity to other European countries
The contracts that France has to sell electricity to its neighbouring states, have become the only justification for EDF to build new reactors. Since orders for nuclear reactors have ceased everywhere else in Europe, those domestic reactor orders are crucial for the survival of Framatome. The artificial survival of its highly subsidised nuclear sector seems to be a top priority for EDF, whatever the social and economic costs on the longer term.
A very good report commissioned by Greenpeace in 1996 to INESTENE and written by A. Bonduelle: " The electricity Trade In Europe: The case of France" reveals that on the long term the export represents an important loss for the French economy, as well as for the economies of the importing countries.(12)

A centralised (undemocratic) power crushing down public opposition
The French nuclear power programme is perceived to have overcome the twin problems of deteriorating economics and implacable opposition.But in order to carry this programme out, it has required centralised, dirigist decision-making. There has never been a parliamentary debate on the energy policy in spite of the violent demonstration in 1970's showing dissatisfaction with rigidity and opacity of decisions.

Characteristic: number of firms involved is minimised and the government has a strong influence in the running of all of them. when on the government side decision-making was taken at the highest level of government.

Development linked with armament race...
Background, the French nuclear programme was part of a general strategy encompassing aerospace, telecommunication and armament.Launched by de Gaulle before 1969, the programme was set up to:
- establish a position France as a major force in nuclear technologies
- to reduce France's dependence on imported fuel supplies and on foreign technologies
- to help re-establish France as a world power through re-assertion of its military strength by means of nuclear weapons.
The first power reactors at Marcoule were primarily designed to produce plutonium for use in France's test explosion programme (started in 1960).

Cheap electricity ?
EDF in deep debt
Already in the 70's , EDF was indebted; the strains of financing the nuclear programme while still maintaining or even reducing the real price of electricity was causing EDF severe financial difficulties. Debts have been amounting ever since and large operating losses continue.
EDF's debt as of December 31, 1994 was US$ 29,8 billion. The company is totally unable to reimburse the billion debt contracted for the construction of nuclear plants.
For, to raise prices would depress demand and damage the credibility of nuclear power as a cheap energy source.
EDF can only keep going on only because of strong commitment and financial support from government

The French government has underwritten considerable losses over the last decades as well as writing off some debt and providing cheap loans. Clearly no privately owned utility would have been able to countenance the losses incurred by EDF.

EDF using loops: the dumping method...
According to A. Bonduelle's study in 1996 , EDF's European export business was losing the state utility at least FF 5 billion a year (US$ 958) if maintenance costs, fuel costs and transmission costs were factored into the calculations. It also suggested that the external costs to the environment, plus the long term back end of the nuclear cycle were added, the French could be losing as much as FF 10 to 35 billion. Still according to the same study, EDF is selling electricity to foreigners (the example was made for the UK) at less price than it cost, or basically 'dumping" it(13).

Also one of the reason of relatively cheap electricity in France is that a proportion of the demand has been satisfied up to now by extremely cheap hydroelectricity.

Trying to find a way out today ...
Today's government have to deal with a "fait accompli" situation; it has almost no choice on the economical level; Stopping the nuclear power industry would mean to accelerate the pace of indebtedness of EDF and the ruin of Framatome. based on an electricity demand per annum which has in reality never been reached.

The past years saw the emergence of generic faults; Due to high standardisation of all the reactors, if there is one default in one reactor, there is the same in all of them.
After 15 year run, technical problems on many of the latest 1300 Mwe units have occurred as well as a premature ageing of equipment.
Severe incidents at nuclear reprocessing and in reactor installations have occurred but little publicity was made around it; For example, at Bugey NPP in 1984, at Saint Laurent des Eaux NPP in 1981 and a sodium coolant leak at the Superphernix fast breeder in May 1987, which led to its closure for 20 months.


The conclusion is left to Dr. F. Nectoux , author of a report: " Crisis in the French nuclear industry"1991.:(14)
The French nuclear programme is going through a deep crisis; even if the situation isn't perceived this way from the outside, and that the French programme is still seen as a model of engineering excellence and cost effectiveness.
EDF is making considerable losses and finds itself unable to reduce its huge financial debts. furthermore , its reputation for technological excellence has been weakened by a spate of serious incidents, especially in 1989, highlighting important safety shortcomings and generic defects on French PWR nuclear plants.
Industrial firms, which have been the backbone of the French nuclear activities and thousands of jobs have already been shed in the process. The fast-breeder programme and the MOX fuel programme are now proving to be costly ' white elephants'. At the same time, the confidence of the French public in the nuclear sector is reaching an all-time low.

Totally unable to face its dead end and to cope with its problem at home, the French nuclear industry exports its model, with all the failure attached to it;
Let's us reverse the trends....


Countries concerned


EDF and Framatome's assistance to Kozloduy NPP
EDF: At Kozloduy NPP (unit 1-4), after having had a team for many years (until the accident in 1995) to provide assistance to the operator of the NPP through EU funding (PHARE) EDF is continuing its co-operation with the site, in the frame of a twinning arrangement with the French NPP Bugey since 1991.
Framatome: As a partner of the European Consortium comprising Siemens, Atomenergoexport, Framatome is involved in the modernisation of the two VVER-1000 (Unit 5-6).
The consortium was awarded a contract valued US$ 29 million to perform the first stage of the upgrading programme which should be concluded by mid-1999.(15)
The total value of the work for the consortium is around US$ 200 million and is realised with Nationalna Elektricheska Kompania (NEK).50 % of the financing (US$ 100 million) is supported by Euratom and further financing is planned to come from NEK's own funds and in form of loans from the consortium member's countries.

DSIN: The DSIN is active at Kozloduy unit-1.


EDF takes the control over Edasz and Demaz (electricity distribution)
-The two distribution companies, Edasz and Demasz, which cover one-third of the Hungarian national market (1,6 million customers) , have been controlled by EDF since December 1995. They have implemented a series of actions to improve their management. As provided for at the time of the call for tenders, and since the beginning of 1997, Bayernwerk has been EDF's partner in the management of Edasz, on an equal basis with EDF, but with one vote less. During 1997, EDF reinforced its stake in these two companies, increasing its equity interest in Edasz to 27% and in Demasz to 55,1%, following the transfer of the shares to Bayernwerk.
EDF has an office representation in Budapest.(16)
-EDF at Paks NPP There is a twining programm between Paks NPPand Blayais NPP.


EDF and Framatome's technical assistance at Mochovce NPP
EDF is assisting the owner, Seas, for the completion , modernisation and commissioning of the two VVER 440 units at Mochovce. The Unit 1 was commissioned on June 9 1998, and unit 2 is expected to start in 1999; EDF will continue its co-operation with the operator for a few years after the commissioning.
EDF is the project's main sponsor and majority owner in the EMO joint venture with the Slovak utility SE, Slovenske Elektrarne to complete and operate the reactors. EDF hasn't revealed how much it has spent on the project but by July 1995, the project had absorbed "more than FF 100 million (approx. US$ 14 million) revealed an official of EDF.(17) The company has assigned 6 engineers on the site since 1996. The company has a representation in Prague for the Czech and Slovak Republic(18).

Framatome realises safety amelioration
The consortium Framatome and Siemens/KWU works in co-operation with the original Russian conceptors of the project (Atomenergoproject, Gydropress, Kurchatov Institute and SNIIP) and the Czech and Slovak companies Energoproject Praha and Skoda . In April 1996, the consortium EUCOM (European Consortium Mochovce) which main partners are Framatome and Siemens KWU has signed a FF 500 million(US$ 72 million) worth contract to realise 50% of the safety amelioration of the two units at Mochovce NPP.(19)

DSIN: provides know-how and man power for training personnel and carries out inspections at Mochovce NPP.

Bohunice NPP There is a twinning program between Nogent NPP and BohuniceNPP.


Cogema supplies Temelin NPP
In 1996, the Cogema, through its branch: Comurrhex (uranium chemistry and enrichment activities) has signed a contract with the Czech utility CEZ to supply Temelin NPP with nuclear fuel.(20)

DSIN: It is providing human resources and material needed for nuclear crisis at the plant in the frame of RAMG.
EDF and Dukovany NPP: There is a twinning programme between DukovanyNPP and St-Alban NPP.


Krsko NPP:Framatome supplies with a new steam generator
In March 1998, the Framatome - Siemens/KWU consortium has signed a contract to jointly perform the steam generator replacement. The contract awarded by the state-owned operator Nuklearna Elektrarna Krsko (NEK) is valued at around DM 70 million (US$ 39 million). The overall volume of the contracts for the consortium thus increases to around DM 120 million (US$ 67million).

DSIN: is providing assistance to its Slovenian counterpart in the frame of RAMG and realise staff exchange in view of the reactor changeout.


EDF takes over the majority of EC Krakow
In May 1998, EDF bought 55% shares of the district heating plant of Cracow for FF480 million (US$ 80 million) and became the first western shareholder in an electricity plant in Poland. In the coming months, EDF will add to the capital US$ 10 million which will bring its share up to 58%. This is the fourth stake of the group in CEE; EDF has opened a representation in Cracow(21)


EDF's twinning programmes
These programmes consist mainly in staff and information exchange between plants, they are:
-Zaporozhe NPP and Bugey NPP
-Rovno NPP and Golfech NPP, since April 1994
-Khemlnitsky NPP and Chinon NPP since 1996
Co-operation with Goskomatom for the creation of a training centre.

EDF becomes Ukraine's special partner..
At Rovno plant (unit 1-3)
EDF is providing the Rovno plant with technical assistance for operation and maintenance under the TACIS programme. EDF has been physically active at Rovno plant only for 2-3 years (not Khmelnitski !) as the only consultant on site, monitoring the budget itself and alone; the TACIS funding amounts: ECU 1 million (US$ 900.000).The programme is expected to end at the end of 1999..

EDF willing to complete Khmelnitsky (unit 2) and Rovno (unit 4)
Under the Ukraine 2000 Project begun in 1994 to promote and upgrade safety at 2 VVER 1000 units (Rovno 4 and Khmelnitsky 2), EDF has been allocated, by means of TACIS financing, FF 100 million (US$ 14.3 million) -out the FF 200 million (US$ 28.6),which represents the total budget(22).
In this project EDF is lending assistance to the Ukrainian nuclear operator, Energoatom, to work out the project for the completion of the 2 VVER 1000 units - project presentation package, construction costs and time tables in order to prepare the project contract-.
For this purpose, there are 9 EDF employees in Kiev and at the sites.

EDF and Chernobyl sarcophagus
In May 98, EDF associated with American companies Bechtel and Battelle Memorial Institute has signed a contract with Energoatom(23) to improve the safety of the sarcophagus of the destroyed reactor. The deal, worth FF 120 million (approx. US$ 17 million) over a period of 2 years covers the first phase of a project which could extend over 8 years. EDF is the technical manager (from planning to realisation) of this project financed by the Ukraine, the G7 countries, and the E.U; the budget is monitored by the EBRD(24).

EDF and electricity distribution
EDF has an office representation in Kiev and provides consultant management to the Ukrainian society of distribution of electricity (Slusk and Dolenergo) through the financing of the World Bank.(25)

EDF and conventional plants
Starobechevskaia coal plant. In March 1996, EDF through Charbonnage de France won the tender to provide consulting services to the EBRD-Dombasseenergo Group to build a new plant, the Starobechevskaia coal plant. The plant commercial commissioning is expected for the year 2000. In this project, EDF provides also training of personal.
Dniestr hydroelectric power plant. Begun in 1986, construction by the Ukrainians of the Dniestr pumped-storage hydroelectric power plant (7X330 MW units) is 50% completed. The World Bank has provided 85% of the US$ 400 million needed for completion of the first 3 units.
Called by Minenergo, the Ukrainian energy ministry, EDF has made the completion project funding application package and presented it to the French government, resulting in a grant of FF 4 million (US$ 0,6 million); EDF also provided assistance in the same amount.
EDF is currently providing technical assistance to evaluate the bids and contract preparations for the construction(26).

COGEMA and rehabilitation of uranium mines
The company has a representation in Kiev together with the EDF-office;The company is running a 2 year project 1997-99 Remediation of Uranium minings and millings tailings. The financial support is provided by TACIS programme and amounts:US$ 900.000 (ECU 1 million)(27).

DSIN: collaborates with the Ukrainian counter-part safety authorities to train workers and elaborate nuclear accidents scenarii.

Trends for the future
In the spring of 1998, The French government has just set up a protocol line to finance equipment, building material and electronic to Ukraine(28)
In the case of K2/R4, EDF wasn't willing to reveal its position on whether it would tender or not but for the rest of the Ukrainian programme,there is no doubt that EDF is going to put a lot of effort to procure international funding to projects in the country even if an official of the Kiev EDF-office said: " If there is additional international financing (World Bank, EBRD) EDF could tender, but everything remains vague".(29)

French and the Russian government have developed and set up many co-operative arrangement since 1990-91;
- EDF- Minatom agreement- "Twinning arrangements" between Russian and French plants to promote exchange of information on plant experience and staff exchange.
- March 1993: agreement CEA-Minatom co-operation work in such areas as reactor operations, the nuclear fuel cycle, plant decommissioning, research, safety, public information and training.
In April 1996, an intergovernmental agreement on co-operation on nuclear energy was signed; it covers ALL aspects of using nuclear energy.(30)
In October 1997, French Prime Minister Jospin visited Moscow with a group of business men and signed contracts in the energy sector with EDF, the Paris-Moscow Axe was set up that day to intensify business relations between the two countries(31).

1998 A new company is formed out of the collaboration of two Giants: EDF-Rosenergoatom
Rosenergoatom's main model for reorganization is EDF...
The two companies, large state-owned organisations with large numbers of operating nuclear power plants, the established a jointly-held company known as EDF-Rosenergoatom to further develop past , current and future programs financed by EDF and the certification of the Cathare code by the Russian safety authority. Rosenergoatom has begun to emulate EDF's in-house engineering capability.

EDF is co-operating, both with the nuclear operator Rosenergoatom(32) and the scientific or technical institutes that designed the VVER type reactors. The two utilities have worked closely together to establishing a generic modernisation program for VVER-1000 reactors(33).This co-operation is also intended to improve safety, develop training and further technical exchanges in matters concerning reactor design. EDF has a representation in Moscow(34).

EDF welcomes Rosenergoatom in the EUR Club (European Utility Requirements)
Since 1998, Rosenergoatom became an official actor in the European consortium Framatome-Siemens /KWU to participate in the design and building of the EPR (European Pressurised Reactor).

EDF negotiating for Kalinin 3
In 1997, EDF has realised a cost analysis of the completion and modernisation of the Kalinin VVER plant, unit 3. The project was granted by TACIS. In 1998, EDF has continued to negotiate to become the project manager for Rosenergoatom in the completion and modernisation of Kalinin 3.(35)
The company has also written the accident control procedures for VVER 1000 reactors, and expects to implement it at Kalinin in 1999. According to Ergorov(36), new VVER 1000 at the site is scheduled to use MOX fuel.

Novovoronezh NPP
EDF has provided with technical assistance at the site since 1994.(37) and manpower (EDF's staff on site) to establish training school activities of maintenance, on a TACIS financing..
In 1997, there is a TACIS programme to provide the plant with incineration equipment for low level radioactive waste. The TACIS budget is: ECU 3,5 million (US$ 3,2 million) and an additional ECU 2 million (US$ 1,8 million)(38). No confirmation was given that the COGEMA was involved in the project, but there is great chances.

Rostov NPP
EDF gave it a try...
Rostov unit-1 VVER-1000 which construction was frozen since 1990 is 95% completed and scheduled to use MOX fuel. In 1996, EDF proposed to the local authorities a US$ 320 million contract for the completion and start up of the reactor at Rostov site. EDF said that the money would come from France or other part of Europe in form of loan/credit if the deal was accepted. Due to problems of water supply in the surrounding as well as environmental groups heavy pressure on the local authorities, the administration of Rostov region rejected the proposal!(39)

Barter deal: uranium /scientists
In June 1996, an accord was signed by Russian Atomic Energy minister and French Industry Ministry to allow Russian scientists to work in France in exchange for a supply of enriched uranium.(40)

DSIN: There has been regular visits of Gosatommadzor, the Russian counterpart of DSIN to study accident procedures. In April 1998, a new RAMG programme has started.

Framatome, EDF, CEA and COGEMA developing plutonium technology:

As early as 31.07 1992 a draft contract was signed between COGEMA and Minatom to promote business of nuclear feul in all its aspects. From conditioning of radioactive waste, to reprocessing and uranium enrichment.
In Nov. 1992, bilateral agreement AIDA (Assistance to Dismantle Nuclear Weapon in Russia) was signed between French and Russian governments

In the beginning was AIDA (phase 1)
As part of the Start I Treaty on decommissioning of nuclear weapons, the French industry has come up with its new plutonium technology.
The AIDA-MOX project aims to make an industrialised and civil production of nuclear fuel with weapon grade plutonium extracted from warheads : the MOX fuel (stands for Mixed-Oxide)industrial and civil production of nuclear fuel MOX (stands for Mixed-OXide). The CEA is the co-ordinator of the actors: COGEMA, Framatome, EDF, Minatom.
France's own contribution to AIDA is of FF 400 million (US$ 58 million).
In 1994: France delivered some "super casks" to transport the weapons from the storage site to the dismantling site.
France also obtained the contract to build a storage facility for radioactive contaminated material extracted from the weapons in Novossibirsk. Its capacity is of 3.000 casks. The building was delivered in mid 1997 and build by the French Spie-Batignolles.

Followed by COGEMA and MOX (phase 2)
On May 28,1998 in the framework of AIDA, Russian Prime Minister, Sergei Kiriyenko approved a draft agreement with the governments of Germany and France on co-operation Under the draft the sides will conduct joint studies on the use of military plutonium from scrapped Russian missiles and design an installation for mixing the plutonium with uranium into fuel for energy reactors (MOX fuel).(41)
COGEMA and Siemens both have contracts in the existing Mayak reprocessing facility near Chelyabinsk. Already in 1997, a German and French team started to develop the principal design of the plant producing fuel called: the DEMOX plant. It's supposed to process 1.300 kilo of weapons-grade plutonium per year from 2001 or 2002 and to load the MOX fuel assemblies into Russian reactors (which would be loaded at 30% in the reactor core VVER-1000 . Later on, with full core load). Completion of the basic design of the plant was expected in June 1998, but no information is available at present time.

Framatome and EDF developing fast-breeder
Co-operation agreements and contracts have been signed with Russian Research Institutes (Kourtchatov, VNINM, VNIIAES) and the most important facilities (Atommash, Podolsk, CKBM ) to develop RNR (Rapid Neutron Reactor) and High Temperature Reactors (HTR). In 1996, a contract was signed between General Atomics, Minatom and Framatome to develop a prototype reactor to burn plutonium(42).
Since 1995, a twinning programme exist between Beloyarsk reprocessing facility and Creys-Malville (fast breeder, Superphenix) to enhance safety of the operating fast breeder reactor. This project is granted by TACIS which budget for this purpose since 1996 amounts: ECU 3 million (US$ 2.75 million). One or two more fast-breeder are scheduled for construction in a near future.(43)

Leningrad NPP
Nuclear waste: ANDRA & co....
In 1995, the government of Leningrad region has adopted a decision to create a regional centre for handling the radioactive waste in the north west of Russia.The project consists of the building of a storage facility for nuclear wastes and probably the storage for exhausted fuel elements of NPP. The EBRD, on the aim of a TACIS programme has allocated ECU 600.000 (US$ 545.000)(44) for the feasibility study of the centre.
Besides Russian specialists, French firms such as ANDRA, Technicatome (Technological Development and Engineering), CGN Reseau Eurisys and Spie Batignolles will participate in the deal.(45)
According to local sources(46) the COGEMA is involved in the construction of the spent-fuel storage facility as well; Unfortunately, the information is not accessible.

DSIN: collaborates with the Russian counter-part safety authorities, Gosatomnadzor to train workers and elaborate nuclear accidents scenarii.

The inventory is far from being complete but still, it shows that France is performing the same activities at home as abroad. The magnitude of the programme is amazing: uranium enrichment, reactor completion, modernisation of VVER-1000, the MOX fuel fabrication plant and development of fast-breeder.

Also, the COGEMA's reprocessing plant at La Hague, build to develop the plutonium cycle, is highly costly. It is extremely dangerous(47) and is producing too much plutonium than can be used in MOX fuel reactors in France. This is an absolute failure, yet the industry continues to sell the concept (DEMOX plant). This time around, the fool is Russia.


Medzamor NPP
Framatome assists units 1-2 and builds unit 3
Because of Armenia's isolation, the country isn't eligible to receive support from the EBRD Nuclear safety Account (NSA), this has reduced foreign involvement. But nevertheless Framatome had been giving discreet support and sending missions to the plant(48) ever since the opening of the country in the late 80's.
In 1992, Framatome was awarded a FF 2 million contract (US$ 14 million) by the European Commission nuclear safety programme to CIS to do a study prior to the restart of this plant. Later on it also supplied various engineering analyses to license it(49); A TACIS programme supports licensing activities in Armenia. For 1997, ECU 0,5 million (US$ 0,45 million) have been allocated to it.(50)
At the beginning of 1998,an agreement has been reached with France and Russia on construction of a third unit at Medzamor NPP(51).

Framatome builds a storage facility
The company has manufactured a Nuhoms dry spent fuel storage facility for the Medzamor NPP under a FF 40 millions (US$ 8 million)contract signed with in Paris in January 1996. Financing has come from the French government under a combined grant-loan agreement concluded in 1995.. France has provided FF 25-million (US$ 3,6 million) in loans to be paid back over 40 years and FF 15.5 million (US$ 2,2 million) in grants.

New NPP in Armenia, French technology ?
According to the French authorities, Armenia has ordered a whole new nuclear power plant from France during the official visit of Armenian President Ter Petrossian in Paris, in June 1996."This would allow the closure of the Medzamor plant.But only international financing would allow such project to go on with the support of the EBRD and the World Bank." said the French Senat. (52)

DSIN: provides personnel with training.


Aktau 1 (RNR)
Framatome assisting development of Fast breeder
The country has only one reactor, a fast breeder reactor, of Russian design.
There is a agreement between Framatome and the National Research Institute to develop the fast-breeder programme. There is also an on-site TACIS assistance project provided to the RNR whose budget since 1993 is: ECU 2 million (for the year 1997 ?)(53)and another TACIS project linked to the safety of fast breeder amounting to ECU 1million(54).

New NPP with French technology
In Nov. 1997, the Russian and Kazakh governments were close to finishing negotiations over construction of a big NPP near Lake Balkhash. It would consist of 3 advanced PWRs of the VVER-640 model, cap.1900 megawatts. T. Zhantikin, Director of the Kazakh Agency for Atomic Energy said:" the construction is expected to start in 1999(...) and French firms are expected to supply some safety systems"(55).

-Uranium mining: The COGEMA and the Kazakh state controlled KATEP company have set up a joint venture : KATCO to work on the development of uranium resources in Kazakhstan. The country holds 19% of the world's low-cost uranium reserves. An initial project of KATCO was to study the feasibility of using in situ leaching on deposits in Muyunkum.(56)
-Gold mining: The Cogema continues the feasibility study of Jubilenove deposit through additional exploration programs and by investigating the different ore mining and milling methods.
On Dec. 1996, an agreement between Cogema and the authorities came into force on the legal and tax status of a future mine. The Cogema has been very active in the Kazakhstan, the past years.(57)

EDF bidding for reconstruction of Inguri dam
The Inguri Dam is the world's highest arch dam at 275 meters and nearly 4 million m3 of concrete. The system provides water for a hydroelectric power plant providing electricity to half of Georgia's population. Damaged by the war, the plant needs to be refurbished; the estimated cost is more than US$ 30 million. The European Commission will provide funding which EDF, in partnership with Electrowatt and Stucky are bidding to supervise the major rehabilitation work.(58)

Closing remarks

We can notice that because of the liberalisation of the electricity market even non-nuclearised countries have to count with EDF (such as Poland)(59) and that the trends of expansion in Ukraine and Russia is fast and financially heavy.
EDF doesn't mind saying that its nuclear generated electricity is the cheapest in the world and using calculations tricks to demonstrate it. It doesn't bother EDF either to be one of the most indebted company in the world (around US$ 30 billion) , even though it is highly subsidised.



1. See further their own negative budget.

2. PHARE stands for "Poland Hungary Assistance to restructuring of the Economies" and TACIS stands for" Technical assistance to the Commonwealth of Independent States'

3. The NSA , with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) acting as its secretariat, was established to finance safety improvement to CEE and CIS countries. The amount given is for the period: 1993- Dec. 31, 1997.

4. Sources: Nucleonics Week, July 13, 1995.

5. Sources: Press release EDF, May 29, 1998.

6. Sources: Joint press release Framatome-Siemens. March 4, 1998.EDF Cracow UI Michalowskiego 4 / 31126 - CRACOW / POLAND / tel : / fax : 48.12.632.75.76 /e-mail : edfpl@bci.krakow.pl

7. CEA: Commissariat a l'Energie Atomique, a state research and development organisation.

8. Source: Cogema web site.

9. RAMG : Regulatory Assistance Management Group

10. Source: Controle, La revue de l'Autorité de sûrete nucléaire.

11. This part was realised based on the following dcument: Greenpeace Briefing, May 1996. Electricite de France " It is magnificent, but is it necessarily capitism ?" art. from the Financial times. Jul. 1996. Thomas s (1989) 'The French nuclear power programme, International Journal of Global Energy Issues.

12. Greenpeace Briefing, May 1996.

13. On the basis of a 30 year-year life per reactor and a generous 75% load factor and using an 8 5 discount rate, " the full cost is FF o,2275/KWh in 1995 currency and the selling price to the UK was of FF 0,19 to 0,227/KWh)

14. "Crisis in the French nuclear industry - Economic and Industrial Issues of the French Nuclear Power Programme" was commissioned by Greenpeace and is available at Greenpeace International

15. Source: Joint press release of Siemens, Framatome and Atomenergoexport, Paris, April 2. 1998.

16. EDF Budapest / Emke Building / Rakoczi ut, 42 / H - 1072 BUDAPEST - HUNGARY / Tel : / fax : / e-mail : jacquespeyrusaubes@ibm.net

17. Sources: Nucleonics Week- July 13, 1995.

18. EDF Prague (Czech and Slovak Republic) / Americka 17 / 12022 - PRAHA 2.

19. Sources: Contacts presse Framatome.

20. Sources: Cogema Annual Report, 1996.Remarks: no number were available.

21. EDF Cracow UI Michalowskiego 4 / 31126 - CRACOW / POLAND / Tel : / fax : 48.12.632.75.76 /e-mail : edfpl@bci.krakow.pl

22. Sources: EDF Annual report 1997

23. Energoatom is the national Ukrainian electricity company.

24. Sources: EDF press release of May 12, 1998.

25. Note: no number were available.

26. Sources: EDF Annual report 1997.

27. Comments: it is a Tacis multiregional project in CIS so it doesn't mean that the totality of the sum has been spent in the Ukraine. Sources: interview with the representation in Kiev.

28. To know more about it, check the poste d'expansion économique at the French embassy in Kiev.

29. Sources: telephone interview with EDF-Ukraine in June 1998. EDF Ukraine 15-A rue Lipskaia app.42 / 252021- KIEV/ UKRAINE /tel: (308 44 ) 246 53 89 - (380 44) 246 53 88 - (380 44) 246 53 96 - (380 44) 225 10 60 / fax: 871. 622.702.820 / e-mail: root@edf.inec.kiev.ua

30. Sources: Nusac-News- G24 Nuclear Safety Assistance Coordination.

31. Sources: Le Monde newspaper.

32. The organisation operates Russian nuclear plants except for the Saint-Petersburg facility.

33. These kind of reactors are the ones that can be MOXed. MOX stands for Mixed-OXide.

34. EDF RUSSIA 2nd Spassonalivkovski per.8 / 117909 - MOSCOW- RUSSIA / Tel: 7.502 222.12.55 (satellite) / Tel: 7.502.230.18.23 / Fax: 7.502.222.12.54 / e-mail: edfmoscou@co.ru

35. Sources: EDF, Rapport Annuel 1997.

36. Egorov is the vice-Minister of Atomic power; He visited Paris in October 1996 to discuss the Russian MOX programme.

37. Sources: Nucleonics Week, July 13, 1995.

38. Sources: Tacis web site.

39. Sources: ECODEFENSE!, newsbulletin- Kaliningrad.

40. sources: Reuters.

41. Sources: Interfax, Moscow. June 1. 1998.

42. Sources: Framatome Contacts press.

43. Egorov's declaration during his vist to Paris in 1996..

44. Sources: Tacis Contract Info. 11/1995.

45. Sources: Nuclear news from the North-west region of Russia- " Baltic Region- Our Habitat"- May 1995.

46. Sources: the editor of Nuclear news from the North-west region of Russia- " Baltic Region- Our Habitat

47. See the Epidemiology study around La Hague, 1997. by Pr. J-F Viel, University of Besancon.

48. Sources:Nucloenics Week. Feb. 1996.

49. Sources: EDF web site

50. Sources: TACIS web site.

51. Sources: Nuclear Engineering International- 01/1998.

52. Sources: Le Journal Officiel, Feb.27th 1997.

53. Sources: TACIS web site.

54. Sources: Nuclear Safeguards and nuclear safety in the East, Final report for STOA Programme of the European Parliament. Sept. 1996. M. Schneider, M.Pavageau. B. Laponche.

55. Sources: Nucleonics Week. Nov.27 1997

56. Sources: Wise NC 457. 08/1996

57. Sources: COGEMA, Annual Report 1996.

58. Sources: EDF. Rapport Annuel. 1997.

59. not mentionning Austria. which is out of our area of work.  

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Sidst opdateret 14. oktober 1998