What was your reaction to the natural disaster in Japan
on March 11 and the subsequent accident at
We have been deeply moved by the consequences of the tsunami,
which have caused thousands of victims. AREVA immediately decided
to make a donation of one million euros to the Japanese Red
The courage Japan has shown and is still showing in the face of
this disaster and the determination it brings to mobilizing
disaster aid compels admiration and respect.
Has AREVA been involved in the recovery operations at
Immediately after the nuclear problems occurred, AREVA has
provided support to Japan through assistance to emergency workers
and personnel working near the Fukushima nuclear power plant and to
its customer Tepco. In particular, AREVA chartered two airplanes to
send radiation monitoring and protection equipment to Japan as well
as emergency aid as part of a multi-partner initiative (3,000
activated charcoal protective masks, 21,000 overalls and more than
20,000 gloves, 185 tons of boric acid, radioactivity detection
equipment). A third airplane left with foods and survival
equipments to support the rescue teams' actions.
In addition to the material assistance, AREVA has provided a
strong technical support to the Japanese utilities by mobilizing
its experts. Several high-ranked specialists went to Japan to help
in their areas of expertise (decontamination of water/effluents,
used fuel, the management of used fuel storage pools, etc.).
Following a request from Tepco, AREVA proposed a solution to
treat most of the contaminated water from the damaged Fukushima
nuclear power plant.
Backed by large teams in France, Germany and the United States,
the experts teams sent to Japan proposed a method based on a
co-precipitation concept. Developed by AREVA and implemented in
partnership with Veolia Water in less than 10 weeks, the process
uses special chemical reagents to separate and recover the
Thanks to the large-capacity treatment plant equipped with the
co-precipitation process, more than 77,000 m3 of highly radioactive
water have been treated successfully.
The AREVA teams are now working on other fields of expertise,
including spent fuel recovery and soil decontamination, and will
propose technical and tailored solutions to Tepco and the Japanese
What actions has AREVA carried out in response to
Fukushima and what can be done at
existing nuclear plants to ensure their safety in response to
learning from Fukushima?
AREVA has been closely monitoring, evaluating and responding to
the unfolding events associated with the historic earthquake and
resulting tsunami in Japan. From that perspective, the group has
implemented an immediate and transversal initiative to realign some
items with our commercial portfolio to be more responsive to the
emergent needs of our industry.
This "Safety Alliance framework" provides a structure for
analyzing safety issues after Fukushima, and for assembling the
solutions needed to address them. To this end, AREVA is deploying a
catalog of Safety Alliance products and solutions to help utilities
to prepare, preserve and protect their fleets now and for years to
What does the nuclear industry as a whole need to do in
response to Fukushima?
The accident has raised legitimate questions and the nuclear
industry has to give appropriate answers. The debate on
nuclear power is a legitimate one: and we will take part in it.
AREVA is open to dialogue and debate. For ten years, we have
proactively carried out a policy of transparency, dialogue and
information on our operations towards every segment of the public,
including the media, elected representatives, local information
commissions, prefectures, citizen debates, and others. More than
ever, we will listen and educate in order to maintain and restore
the trust we were able to build with all of our stakeholders.
What features do new reactor designs offer to address
the issues faced at Fukushima?
All nuclear incidents and accidents have resulted from an
unexpectedly complex sequence of events that demand an equally
diverse range of response. In order to avoid a severe accident,
AREVA reactor designs leverage both active and passive technologies
to provide complementary, diverse and redundant safety systems
that fulfill essential safety functions of reactor control, core
cooling and confinement of radioactive substances.
Events in Japan have shown that even very unlikely events with
dramatic consequences occur. AREVA reactors are all designed to
cope with a worst-case scenario ( determistic approach).
The AREVA fleet meets the higher standards in terms of safety
and security. Our reactors benefit from 40 years of research and
international lessons learned from construction and operation. From
the beginning of the design process, the reactors were conceived to
meet the most stringent safety requirements.
AREVA's reactors belongs to the III+ generation and are designed
to face major events. With the EPR™, ATMEA1™ and KERENA™ reactors,
AREVA offers a new generation of reactors that are the safest in
To withstand a major earthquake, as it was the case in Japan,
the nuclear island of the reactor is supported by a thick,
monolithic slab foundation made of reinforced concrete. The
buildings are also as low as possible, and the heavy equipment and
water tanks are located on the lowest levels.
The buildings are also protected with a double containment made
of concrete. Safety system equipment is also subjected to
myriad qualification tests, in particular seismic resistance tests
using a variety of calculation models and methods to simulate an
In the case of the EPR™ reactor, it should be noted that
four cooling systems are located in four different buildings of the
More generally, with its advanced safety systems, the EPR
Has Fukushima changed your opinion of nuclear
This accident does not call into question our position on the
energy mix with the promotion of low-carbon energies, as the issues
of energy independence, growing demand for electricity driven by
global demographics, and climate change have not changed.
Low-carbon energies such as nuclear power are key components
of that mix for the constant supply of baseload electricity.
Transparency, safety and security have always formed the core of
our group's values and will remain so. Continuous improvement is
written into the group's strategy.
What do you now see as the future for nuclear
The accident raises legitimate questions and concerns. All the
lessons must be drawn from it in terms of nuclear
safety. The issues of energy demand and energy mix
against a backdrop of global warming have not changed as a result
of the recent events in Japan. They're still there: twice as much
electricity will have to be generated in 2050 with half as many
CO2 releases to the atmosphere if the temperature on the
Earth's surface is to be stabilized. It's unreasonable to expect
the energy mix in different nations to shift to an "all renewable
The Fukushima accident creates legitimate concern, and the
impacts on our operations will be mixed: new business will probably
develop following the so-called "stress tests"; other services
related to replacement of existing reactors may be delayed. It's
not about being in an industry in decline but dealing with this
period of uncertainty before all projects start again.
As far as the accident's impact on the nuclear industry's image
is concerned, it must be admitted that there will be one after
Fukushima. The accident triggered strong reactions in a limited
number of countries as Germany and it is our responsibility to
continue to engage in dialogue with our stakeholders and to
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