Areva NP is now called Framatome.
The international company’s Richland plant supplies fuel and fuel-related products for commercial pressurized water reactors and boiling water reactors.
Framatome isn’t an unfamiliar name to Areva. The company changed its name to Areva NP in 2006.
Resurrecting the Framatome name won’t affect much at the Richland plant, said Ben Reynolds, spokesman for the Richland plant.
“We are still the same company; we just have a different name. Not much will change other than our signs,” he said.
Construction on the Richland company’s scrap uranium recovery facility is continuing and the exterior of the building is almost complete, Reynolds said.
Framatome has 14,000 employees worldwide, including 550 at the Horn Rapids Road plant in Richland, making it among the biggest manufacturers in the Tri-Cities.
Framatome has about 2,320 employees at 11 sites in the United States.
The Richland site is the fuel fabrication hub in North America, producing uranium dioxide powder, pellets, fuel rods and fuel assembles.
The France-based Framatome contributes to the design of power plants, supplies the nuclear steam supply system, designs and manufactures components and fuels, integrates the instrumentation and control systems and carries out the maintenance of in-service nuclear reactors.
Areva announced last year the addition of $560 million in fuel contracts for four different nuclear energy facilities and is developing advanced nuclear fuel assemblies to allow operators more time to respond in emergencies.
In 2016, Richland’s Areva manufactured more than 2,300 fuel assemblies and more than 92 million fuel pellets.
Areva bought the current Richland facility in 2001, the same year the subsidiary of the French atomic energy commission, CEA Industrie, merged with Framatome and Cogema to form the Areva Group.
The Framatome name has replaced New NP, the Areva NP subsidiary holding the Areva Group’s nuclear reactor operations.
The company’s capital is owned by the EDF group (75.5 percent), Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (19.5 percent) and Assystem (five percent).
The New NP divestment to EDF occurred Dec. 31.
In November, Areva and EDF signed a contract setting the terms of the sale of an interest conferring exclusive control by EDF of an entity (New NP), a 100 percent subsidiary of Areva NP, that will combine Areva Group’s activities relating to design and equipment manufacturing of nuclear reactor and, fuel design and assemblies manufacturing and services to reactors.
“Framatome possesses unique know-how in an industry that today is and will remain key for a low-carbon energy mix. Our employees in France and around the world have been able to face considerable challenges in recent years,” said Bernard Fontana, chairman of the managing board and chief executive officer of Framatome, in a statement.
He said Framatome is steeped in a rich heritage and is “one of the reference players in the nuclear sector worldwide, benefiting from unparalleled operating feedback. Our ambition is delivering a level of industrial excellence that is recognized by our customers.”
The technology company holds about 3,500 patents covering some 680 inventions. Framatome operates on more than 250 reactors worldwide.
With an existing global fleet of some 440 reactors representing output of around 390 GWe in 31 countries and with new nuclear capacity on its way, the nuclear market presents opportunities in the areas of components, fuel, retrofits and services, according to a Framatome news release.