As seen in the Charlotte Business Journal this week, AREVA Inc. CEO Mike Rencheck described the company’s vision and activities in the North American energy market.
Areva stakes out place in range of nuclear solutions
by Mike Rencheck
As the chief executive of Areva Inc., I have the privilege to lead a fine organization and the challenge of providing safe, affordable and clean energy solutions. These solutions are critical to providing energy security and long-term sustainability of our nation’s economy.
With deep roots in the United States and almost 5,000 employees spread across the country, Areva is a leader in providing clean-energy solutions for power generation. Areva is the only company with expertise in every step of nuclear-power generation, from mining ore to used-fuel recycling.
Nuclear power must and will continue to be part of the global energy mix. The U.S. remains the largest nuclear market in the world, and Areva is committed to its long-term success. We work with utility customers to ensure they continue to deliver on the promise of safe, efficient and reliable nuclear energy. We are constantly innovating and aligning our portfolio of technologies, services and products to meet our customer’s needs and expectations.
Following the events at Fukushima, Japan, the nuclear industry, led by utilities, the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and the Nuclear Energy Institute, acted to assess and ensure safe operations in our plants. We collaborated to review and capture the lessons learned for the industry.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission also acted on behalf of the American people and recently issued new regulatory standards, with perhaps more to follow. Safety and reliability are cornerstone imperatives for the nuclear industry and, as such, Areva has acted to add capabilities to meet these new challenges.
A few weeks ago, Areva broke ground on a U.S. technology center to expand our worldwide testing capabilities and provide local access for U.S.-based utilities. Areva will be analyzing and addressing critical solutions so our customers can continue to operate efficiently and safely. The center will include a seismic-testing table, environmental chambers to test product resilience in harsh conditions, as well as metallurgical and chemical laboratories for materials and component testing.
We continue to develop and invest in technologies that serve the long-term needs of the industry. Our new products are designed and meet necessary performance requirements addressing critical seismic, environmental and other safety-related performance parameters.
As the economy begins to recover and America gets back to work, we will see an increase in electricity demand. Conventional thinking and conventional fuels will go only so far in providing for a future of safe, clean and affordable energy availability and stability. New nuclear plants will allow the United States to meet base-load energy demands, preserve our environment, develop manufacturing infrastructure and create jobs.
Globally, we are seeing the Areva EPR become the reactor design of choice from Europe to China. As we continue to design and build new EPRs, we are capturing the lessons learned to bring an even better product to the United States. We remain committed to receiving our design certification and are working with U.S. utilities on developing new and safe nuclear power.
To balance our portfolio of solutions, Areva also has a growing renewable-energy business. Areva Solar, headquartered in California, provides turnkey solutions using cost-effective and land-efficient technology. Recently, Areva Solar announced a project with a major utility in the Southwest where solar power can be combined with conventional fuel sources to reduce plant emissions.
This clean-energy boost will help offset emissions; provide additional, economical power; and enable the client to turn a challenge into an innovative solution.
Thanks to Areva’s core competencies in radiochemistry and design of nuclear facilities, our Areva Med unit is developing powerful and targeted therapies to combat cancer using a scarce radioisotope — lead 212. With the support of partners, Areva Med is recruiting patients for its first innovative treatment against some deadly types of cancer that afflict the pancreas and ovaries.
Areva is a company on the move. On many fronts, Areva is providing customers with effective and innovative solutions to meet ever-changing demands and deliver answers to the challenges we face.
Mike Rencheck is chief executive of Areva Inc.