10 March 2023
The first Franco-British Bilateral Summit for five years took place on Friday 10 March 2023 and nuclear was central to discussions between the two nations. On the occasion of the Summit, the French Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher, and the UK Minister for Energy Security and Net Zero, Grant Shapps, chaired a seminar on nuclear energy with key players from both countries. Assystem’s Deputy CEO Stéphane Aubarbier and UK Managing Director Simon Barber represented the company at this seminar, where collaboration across the Channel was the prevailing theme of the day.
Collaboration is key
In a speech delivered at the seminar, Stéphane Aubarbier called for greater international cooperation: “We have to improve the capacity of the British and the French nuclear industries to deliver. We will do so by strengthening our collaboration, seizing opportunities on projects on both sides of the channel and developing our know-how and capabilities.”
“Successful projects in France and the UK will also depend on the efficiency of our global supply chains and the experience they will gain from participating in new nuclear projects around the world.”
Nuclear efforts across the channel
Both countries have ambitious civil nuclear programmes, with the UK seeking to deploy 24GW of nuclear capacity by 2050, while France intends to build up to 14 new reactors in the same period.
The two countries have a history of collaboration on nuclear energy projects which they are well-positioned to extend.
In the UK, the development of Hinkley Point C, soon to be followed by Sizewell C, should pave the way for additional plants to replace Britain’s aging fleet, with four of the remaining five plants, accounting for over 5GW of energy production capacity, due to be shut down this decade.
In the top 3 of the largest independent nuclear companies in the world, with over 6500 experts, Assystem is actively supporting the deployment of new large-scale civil nuclear in both countries and around the world. In the UK it is a partner of the Commissioning Alliance for Hinkley Point C, a member of the Sizewell C Consortium, and part of the UK Design Centre for EPR.
In France it is actively engaged across the breadth of nuclear projects, as the company supported EDF to build and commission the nuclear fleet and is still involved today on the maintenance of the existing fleet and cycle installations as well as on the Flamanville 3 project.
Through these projects, Assystem is actively facilitating the transfer of knowledge by embedding French nuclear experts in its UK teams, supporting the development of a domestic skilled workforce which will enable the successful delivery of nuclear projects in Britain, France and beyond, over the coming decades.
Simon Barber, UK Managing Director, Assystem said: “Close cooperation between the UK and France is vital to the successful delivery of both countries’ ambitious civil nuclear programmes, which will provide secure, decarbonised electricity to our economies and support progress towards Net Zero emissions.”