Companies to boost engineering workforce in ‘coming years’
French companies Nuward and EDF and Belgium-based Tractebel have singed a framework cooperation agreement to further joint efforts on the development of Nuward’s small modular reactor (SMR) technology.
A joint statement said the agreement has a long-term focus and will involve increased dedication of engineering staff by Tractebel to the Nuward SMR project.
Around 50 engineers from Tractebel are currently working on Nuward under a 2022 agreement, while this number is expected to double in the coming years in all fields of engineering, the statement said. Since the establishment of the Nuward subsidiary in March 2023, the SMR project required a significant increase of dedicated human resources.
International collaboration is seen as essential to ensuring a harmonised approach is taken as the nuclear industry and policymakers prepare for the rollout of new technologies such as SMRs, EDF said earlier.
Nuward is currently in the basic design phase, which focuses on bringing the design of the SMR to maturity. EDF said the technology could replace high CO2-emitting coal, fuel, oil and gas plants around the world and support other uses such as hydrogen production, urban and district heating or desalination.
The Nuward project is being led by EDF with contributions from the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), French industrial group Naval Group, reactor design and maintenance company TechnicAtome, nuclear company Framatome and engineering company Tractebel.
Nuward is a Generation III pressurised water reactor plant combining two 170 MW reactors for a total output of 340 MW. One of the main characteristics of the plant will be the integration of proven PWR technology into a compact modular configuration.