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The way is open for the construction of the new Georges Besse II enrichment plant

Press release

July 03, 2006

In becoming a 50% shareholder in ETC (Enrichment Technology Company) along with URENCO, AREVA is gaining access to what is considered the most high performance uranium enrichment centrifugation technology in the world. This is crucial, as it will enable AREVA to implement the process in its future enrichment plant, to be known as Georges Besse II*. The overall cost of the project** is estimated at around 3 billion euro, a major share of which will be financed by the plant itself once it begins operation.

Georges Besse II will be situated on the Tricastin site in the South of France. It will replace Eurodif's gaseous diffusion enrichment plant (AREVA Group) which has been in operation on the same site since 1978. Worksite construction and civil engineering work will start during the summer of 2006. Initial production will begin in early 2009 with a gradual increase in capacity up until 2017. Construction will last around ten years and will employ almost 400 people. Local engineering and services companies will greatly benefit from the construction.

The characteristics of the centrifugation process will make the new plant even more effective in terms of safety and the environment. The technology also offers the advantage of using 50 times less electricity than gaseous diffusion. Furthermore, it does not require water from the Rhone for the cooldown phase. Georges Besse II is fully in line with AREVA's sustainable development and continuous progress approach.

Anne Lauvergeon, Chairman of AREVA's Executive Board says: "This worksite will represent one of the biggest industrial investments in France over the coming years. It will enable AREVA to render secure its enrichment services offering and reinforce its position as leader on the world enrichment market with a 25% market share."

* as a tribute to one of the historic figures in the French nuclear energy program
**access to the technology and plant construction

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