France's Areva, Mitsubishi form joint venture to make new nuclear reactors

French nuclear manufacturer Areva SA and Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. announced a joint venture Monday to make third-generation nuclear reactors aimed at markets in Asia, the United States and eastern Europe. The 1,100-megawatt pressurized water reactor, called the ATMEA-1, would be developed, marketed, licensed and sold by the new Paris-based company, ATMEA. The two companies have been working for nearly a year on the project, which has about US$96 million in startup capital, Mitsubishi President Kazuo Tsukuda told a news conference in Paris. Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon said the reactor will be "easily licensable" and ready for licensing in less than three years. Neither executive would give a market price for the new reactors. The reactor will incorporate all safety features of so-called third-generation reactors, including protection against falling airplanes.