The world's biggest crane, 'Big Carl’, was in action again in mid-November, lifting the first huge steel ring section onto the second nuclear reactor building, just 11 months after the same operation on the first unit. The ring was built 25% more quickly than the same part on Unit 1.

Framatome nuclear new build programmes

José Luis Pérez & Philippe Abry



Nuclear power is recognized as the only stable large energy source free of CO2 emissions. It has become for many countries and regions, a crucial pilar of the decarbonization path. Sovereignty of the energy supply and supply chain is more relevant every day in policy making, both at national and at European levels. Additionally, new European taxonomy provides new financing capabilities for nuclear projects. While the aging worldwide nuclear fleet is maintained with adequate levels of safety and investment, many countries have launched or relaunched new build programmes.

In this scenario, Framatome addresses the challenges of plant modernizations and support of nuclear new build programmes, by consolidating and further developing high-performing people and technologies in preparation of this promising future.

A mandatory prerequisite of Framatome involvement in new build programs is to maintain in parallel the highest quality services for the existing fleet of our customers’ operational nuclear power plants. The commitment of Framatome to the deliver the highest safety, quality and efficient solutions and services is not a question – thanks to the highly qualified experts dedicated specifically to those contracts. Through Framatome, customers will additionally benefit from the technological developments generated in the frame of large investment programs and from the consequent economies of scale.



For over 60 years, Framatome’s teams have been involved in developing safe, competitive, clean, low-carbon nuclear energy worldwide by designing nuclear power plants, supplying nuclear steam supply systems (NSSS), designing, and manufacturing components and fuel assemblies, integrating automation systems, and servicing all types of nuclear reactors. Framatome is the original equipment manufacturer of 92 nuclear power plants worldwide (France, Spain, USA, China, South Africa, Korea, etc).

More importantly, Framatome’s more than 15,000 employees located in approximately 63 sites in 20 countries proudly serve the nuclear industry around the world. In Spain, for example, Framatome has offices in Madrid, Tarragona, and Zaragoza.

Nonetheless, the best definition of Framatome is our values that guide our actions and describe how we work with our customers, business partners and each other. We value “Safety” as our license to lead, and “Performance”, “Integrity”, “Passion” and “Future” as principles that drive our people and business forward.

Expertise and operational performance are at the heart of our strategy. It is centred on five axes: proven and sustainable expertise; performance in delivering; an agile and adaptive organization; safe and competitive solutions; and international development.

Framatome activities are organized along five Business Units:

  1. Installed Base provides products, maintenance and engineering services for existing nuclear fleets and reactors under construction.
  2. Fuel develops, designs, licenses and fabricates fuel assemblies and core components for power reactors (PWR, VVER, BWR) and research reactors, and development of zirconium products.
  3. Projects and Components Manufacturing designs and manufacture heavy and mobile components for nuclear islands. This Business Unit also manages and executes nuclear reactor new build projects and component replacement projects.
  4. Instrumentation & Control (I&C) designs and fabricates safety I&C and automation systems for nuclear power plants.
  5. Engineering & Design Authority develops, designs, and licenses NSSS and associated services, including the worldwide Technical Centres.
Figure 1. Framatome Business Units.



For nuclear new build programmes, Framatome provides the following:

  • Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) integration of the NSSS. We ensure project management and component manufacturing for the nuclear industry worldwide.
  • Design, engineering, and manufacturing of the NSSS.
  • Test and installation of major equipment, such as the reactor pressure vessel, steam generators or primary pumps, instrumentation and control systems and fuel solutions.
  • Installs equipment such as electrical systems, containment solutions, diagnosis and monitoring.
  • Qualify, test, licenses and commissions equipment and systems.

Our expertise is built on more than 50 years of experience, with thousands of skilled operators involved in design and manufacturing and more than 100 NSSS projects for major global partners.

Figure 2. Hinkley Point new build site.

Framatome’s worldwide integrated organization ensures the success of new builds projects. Through its Projects and Components Manufacturing Business Unit, Framatome designs and manufactures heavy and mobile equipment for the nuclear island, manages and execute new nuclear reactor construction projects for the NSSS scope and major component replacement projects, and contributes EPC skills for the entire nuclear island.

  • More particularly, Framatome produces key equipment for NSSS to equip new-build power plants or to replace equipment at operational power plants. For example, Framatome manufactures advanced technological heavy equipment (reactor pressure vessels, steam generators, etc.) and mobile components (reactor coolant pumps and control rod drive mechanisms). Since 1970, approximately 10,000 components have been produced in our manufacturing sites. Framatome components equip more than 100 power plants in 11 countries, meeting the most demanding nuclear safety and quality standards.
    Figure 3. NSSS components designed and manufactured by Framatome.

    Framatome operates its own and highly specialized manufacturing sites for large nuclear components as follows:

    • The Le Creusot plant is a unique forge to produce a wide range of products for the nuclear island and forged parts for used fuel storage and transportation casks.
    Figure 4. Le Creusot Framatome plant.
    • The Saint-Marcel plant is dedicated to nuclear components assembly. The team of experts at Saint-Marcel innovates and invests in machining and non-destructive testing to ensure the highest safety standards.
    Figure 5. Saint-Marcel Framatome plant.
    • The Jeumont plant is devoted to the manufacture of mobile components. The employees of Jeumont design and manufacture the key mobile components for the primary coolant system of nuclear reactors. As the sole manufacturer of the complete pump, motor, and seal package assembly, components are supplied to customers all over the world.
    Figure 6. Framatome Jeumont site.
    • In Karlstein, Germany, instrumentation for boiling water and pressurized water reactors, as well as diagnostic systems for new construction and modernization projects worldwide are manufactured and large equipment (i.e valves) are tested.
    Figure 7. Framatome Karsletin facility.

    Additionally, Framatome counts on integrated, specialized laboratories to demonstrate the safety and quality of innovative applications and components used throughout the nuclear industry.

    Engineering safe and high-performing NSSS requires a significant level of expertise and a design based on advanced technologies and optimized solutions. Regarding engineering and design, Framatome offers these areas of excellence for all new projects. Our services include the design of the NSSS main components, scientific code computing and safety analyses. Our teams bring a wealth of experience in computational fluid dynamics and advanced expertise in safety analyses, probabilistic safety assessment and risk analysis. Benefit from Framatome’s unique level of know-how due to our vast global experience in the engineering and design of all current types of reactors (PWR, BWR, VVER, CANDU, etc.).



    Flamanville 3 is the first-of-a-kind EPR in France – a Generation III+ reactor and the 100th reactor ordered from Framatome. It is part of the French nuclear fleet renewal program. This is aimed at renewing the country’s nuclear heritage before gradually dismantling its oldest facilities. Since the end of 2007, teams from Framatome have been working on this site. The largest industrial project in Northern Europe along with Olkiluoto 3 in Finland, Flamanville 3 brings together the expertise of over 4,000 people from 55 different countries. Framatome is leading the design, procurement, erection and commissioning of the turnkey NSSS, as well as safety instrumentation and control. The fuel loading date is scheduled for 2nd trimester 2023.

    Figure 8. Flamaville site.



    Framatome participates in the Hinkley Point C project, one of the major industrial projects of this decade. Hinkley Point C is the first new nuclear power station in the UK for a generation, in Somerset, England. The two Hinkley Point C EPR reactors will provide reliable, low-carbon electricity that will meet approximately 7% of the UK’s electricity needs.

    Framatome is contracted to support the construction of the two EPRs for the production activities of both NSSS, from the design and procurement phase to commissioning. The scope includes engineering and procurement of external supplies (e.g. supports, insulation…) and specific valves; the execution and supply of the nuclear power plants (NPP’s) safety instrumentation and control systems; and the supply of components and equipment needed for the fuel operation and the performance of the NSSS.

    In parallel, Framatome signed an agreement for the supply of nuclear fuel. Framatome will be responsible for supplying the long-term fuel fabrication necessary for the operation of both units NSSS. More than 200 Framatome employees from different countries contribute to the project management, including our three manufacturing plants that produce the main components of the primary circuit.

    Figure 9. Hinkley Point EPR under construction.

    More Recently, Britain gave consent for the planned Sizewell C nuclear plant to be built in southeast England, that will see the creation of two 3.2-gigawatt EPR plants. As a near replica of Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C benefits from the experience at Hinkley Point C to manage the project schedule and reduce construction costs. Once built, Sizewell C will generate reliable low-carbon electricity for at least 60 years. Sizewell C will be built next to Sizewell B which began operating in 1995.



    France will build 6 to 14 new nuclear reactors to help the country lessen its dependence on foreign countries for its energy supplies, meet global warming targets and keep prices under control. The first six plants are planned, and they are expected to be commissioned by 2035.

    This means for the first time in decades, a European country will relaunch a large construction program of nuclear facilities to guarantee energy independence and electricity supply and achieve its 2050 carbon neutrality objectives.

    EDF and Framatome have been working together on an optimised EPR design, the EPR2. This collaboration aims to put forward an enhanced industrial solution in anticipation of a renewal of the French fleet. The optimised EPR2 will replicate the best features of the EPR design but will also incorporate improvements drawn from the operating experience of current EPR projects, such as Flamanville 3, and Taishan 1&2.

    The EPR2 will be easier to build and therefore more competitive. To achieve this goal, among others, the project relies on many digital tools, making EPR2 the first “fully digital” reactor. The teams initially designed the EPR2 via a 3D digital twin, before “fast forwarding it through time” using 4D advancements. Thanks to digital technology, engineers can now visualise the stages of construction in advance to prevent potential pitfalls on the site, share reliable data in real time with industrial partners, and even check the feasibility of future operation and maintenance activities, in the best possible conditions.

    Framatome’s scope for the EPR2 will be larger than previous EPRs and it will include the engineering, procurement, and construction of secondary side systems and components.



    Framatome is partnering with EDF to develop a unique SMR solution: NUWARD™. NUWARD™ is a 340 MWe SMR plant with two reactors (170MWe each) housed in a single nuclear building, thus optimizing the use of mutualised equipment. Its design gathers 50 years of experience in energy generation, reactor design, manufacturing, and construction. Thanks to a standardised and modular approach for in-factory manufacturing and construction, NUWARD™ is designed for rapid onsite installation.

    Figure 10. NUWARD SMR.

    NUWARD™ will provide great added value in the decarbonisation of the world energy mix, with a sustainable and flexible energy solution for industrial sites, remote areas with limited electric grids and more generally, low carbon and dispatchable electricity generation. Beyond electricity production, NUWARD™ will support multipurpose uses (hydrogen production, heat, desalination, etc.). NUWARD™ introduces a balanced approach to utilizing proven technology and integrating innovations, that will bring significant benefits in terms of constructability, operational competitiveness, and environmental performance.

    Finally, NUWARD™ will be the case study for a European early joint regulatory review led by the French nuclear safety regulator with the participation of the Czech and Finnish nuclear regulators. This review will be based on the current set of national regulations from each country, the highest international safety objectives and reference levels, and up-to-date knowledge and relevant good practice. This initiative, a first for Europe, will foster convergence and harmonization of nuclear safety regulations for SMRs in Europe, and it supports NUWARDtm ability to meet the challenges of international licensing.



    To successfully face the commitments ahead, Framatome is deploying ambitious actions and programs heading to securing the required competences and industrial capabilities.

    Framatome relies on the competences of its people, from project management to manufacturing, installation, and maintenance to decommissioning. It is imperative Framatome has specialized skills and qualified people, in addition to robust knowledge management programs and systems to be successful. During the last three years, Framatome has hired more than 1,000 people annually.  We welcome nuclear professionals worldwide to our unique industrial programme. Giving our employees the professional skills they need and upholding their engagement in our demanding and fulfilling work environment is crucial for us and our daily business.

    On the industrial side, in the last years and months, Framatome has acquired and integrated other key nuclear industrial partners. For example, the recently acquired Foxguard Solutions and Cyberwatch are dedicated to Cybersecurity services. Rolls Royce Civil Nuclear Instrumentation and Control and Schneider Electric automation business are major consolidations that completely reshape the nuclear I&C industry worldwide. In the UK, Framatome has recently enlarged its industrial footprint with the acquisitions of BHR Group. In Canada, Framatome acquired the nuclear power systems division of RCM Technologies Canada Corp. In France, Framatome has strengthen its manufacturing capabilities with the tube specialist Valinox and our skilled on-site welding response and engineering expertise with EFINOR group Energy and Defense subsidiaries.

    Additionally, Framatome has developed successful strategic partnerships with dozens of companies worldwide including two leaders in the field of nuclear medicine. Framatome recently announced a partial stake in Global Morpho Pharma and joined Kinectrics to form Isogen. Both companies focus on harnessing the power of nuclear power plants to provide radioisotopes cancer treatments and therapeutic applications.   

    Framatome’s Healthcare brand is committed to developing products and services for the healthcare industry. Its team supports the value chain for the radioisotopes used in radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic imaging and therapeutic purposes, supplies special alloys for the development of surgical implants and prostheses and provides advanced solutions for complex sterilization facilities essential for the use of medical materials. Framatome Healthcare’s experts advance the fight against cancer and develop and support medical applications of nuclear technology.



    For years, Framatome and its partners have been thoroughly preparing for a future that has now become present. It includes serving with highest quality to our customers and developing and integrating new competences.

    The cornerstone of our readiness is the high performing people and technologies we count on. We are glad and honoured to lead this challenge and happy to welcome nuclear professionals and partners to join us in this quest.

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