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Enrichment: Kansai and Sojitz acquire an equity stake in AREVA’s Georges Besse II plant

Press release


March 30, 2009

The Japanese corporations Kansai and Sojitz have signed an agreement with AREVA under which they will acquire a 2.5% share in the holding company of Société d’Enrichissement du Tricastin (SET), the operator of the Georges Besse II enrichment plant.

Along with the acquisition by GDF SUEZ of a 5% stake in SET holding in June 2008, this agreement underlines the strategic importance for our utility customers to participate in this major project and secure enriched uranium supplies.

With a total amount of about three billion euros, the Georges Besse II plant on the Tricastin nuclear site (Drôme and Vaucluse, France) is one of the largest industrial investment projects currently underway in France.

Production capacity will reach 7.5 million SWU (Separative Work Unit), and could be further extended to 11 million. The AREVA group’s new enrichment plant will use state-of-the-art centrifugation technology, requiring notably fifty times less electricity than the gaseous diffusion process currently used in France.

Construction works on the Georges Besse II plant began in September 2006 and are progressing on schedule. Commissioning is expected this year and the plant will reach its full production capacity in 2016.

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With manufacturing facilities in 43 countries and a sales network in more than 100 countries, AREVA offers customers reliable technological solutions for CO2-free power generation and electricity transmission and distribution.

We are the world leader in nuclear power and the only company to cover all industrial activities in this field.

Our 75.000 employees are committed to continuous improvement on a daily basis, making sustainable development the focal point of the group’s industrial strategy.

AREVA’s businesses help meet the 21st century’s greatest challenges: making energy available to all, protecting the planet, and acting responsibly towards future generations.
Since the Kansai Electric Power was established in 1951, the company has met electric power demand in the Osaka area of Japan.

Kansai is the second largest power utility in Japan and has promoted nuclear power since initiating operations at Japan’s first pressurized water reactor in 1970.

Sojitz Corporation is a major Japanese trading company with a diverse range of activities, including energy and mineral resources, in about 50 countries worldwide.

It was formed from the merger of Nichimen Corporation and Nissho Iwai Corporation in 2004. Sojitz currently has more 18,000 employees deployed in Japan and 95 offices around the world. Sojitz have been engaged in the nuclear fuel cycle business since the 1970s as a sales agent of AREVA in Japan.