Under a memorandum of understanding signed on 18 July Areva and Rosatom have agreed to set up working groups to study opportunities for strengthening their co-operation in the nuclear sector.

This decision is in line with the Franco-Russian inter-governmental declaration of 18 November 2011, which called for closer ties between the companies involved in the nuclear industry in both countries.

The working groups will focus their attention on a variety of topics including services to existing nuclear reactors, particularly those based on Russian VVER technology, the management of spent fuel, and co-operation in the manufacturing and supply chain for nuclear island components.

The progress of joint studies and analysis of decisions made will be controlled by a strategic committee to be headed by the chief operating officers of both groups.

Commenting on the deal Areva chief executive Luc Oursel said: “Today’s ceremony demonstrates the shared desire of our groups to develop a closer co-operation on dedicated fields such as recycling or maintenance activities.” Director general of Rosatom, Sergey Kirienko, commented: “In such an essential industry as nuclear power, competition in separate market segments doesn’t exclude co-operation [in others]”.

Kirienko and Oursel signed the memorandum of understanding on behalf of Rosatom and Areva.