French nuclear technology company Areva has opened acquisition discussions with France Essor to discuss the feasibility of buying steel group Sfarsteel, which manufactures forged components such as shells and tubes of steam generators, reactor vessels, turbines rotors, primary coolant circuit pipes and other items for nuclear power stations.

The move has heightened speculation that a swathe of new reactor orders are set to come in over the coming years, putting pressure on manufacturers to supply specialist components.

In a statement Areva said: “At a time when the nuclear industry is experiencing a global renaissance, Areva is eager to strengthen the security of its supplies, particularly forged components.”

Sfarsteel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of France Essor, has four production units located in the Le Creusot basin in central France. Commercial terms or a desired time frame have not been disclosed.