France to receive €300 million aid to develop small modular nuclear reactors

Green Forum
The European Commission has given its approval, by EU State aid regulations, to a €300 million initiative by France to bolster the efforts of Electricité de France's (EDF) subsidiary, Nuward, in the research and development of small modular nuclear reactors (SMRs).

 This measure aligns with the European industrial strategy's strategic goals and the European Green Deal.

The French initiative provides €300 million to Nuward to advance its research and development (R&D) endeavors in SMR technology. Specifically, the project aims to streamline the design and construction processes for SMRs, emphasizing simplicity, modularity, and a power output of up to 300 MWe. This funding represents the third phase of Nuward's broader project, with the Commission previously approving a €50 million allocation for the project's second phase in December 2022, aimed at enhancing knowledge of SMR design and construction.

The aid will be dispensed as a direct grant, covering the R&D project until early 2027. It will support Nuward in various aspects, including sizing SMR modules and components, validating their integration through simulations and lab tests, conducting industrialization studies, and preparing necessary safety demonstrations for project approval by national nuclear safety authorities.

In assessing the measure under EU State aid rules, particularly Article 107(3)(c) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) and the 2022 Framework for State Aid for Research and Development and Innovation (RDI Framework), the Commission determined the following:

The initiative promotes economic activity, specifically R&D in SMR technology.
It demonstrates an 'incentive effect,' incentivizing R&D investments that wouldn't occur without public support.
The measure is deemed necessary and proportionate to foster relevant R&D activities, with aid levels corresponding to actual financing requirements.
Safeguards are in place to mitigate undue distortions of competition, focusing on advanced technologies not immediately marketable and slated for long-term industrial deployment.
The positive impacts of the aid outweigh the potential distortions of competition and trade within the EU.
Based on these findings, the Commission sanctioned the French measure under EU State aid regulations.

Green Forum  |  17 May, 2024 at 9:00 AM