Posted by: doug308 | November 9, 2011

Bidding Jobs In The Nuclear World

Matt Dryden, AREVA:”Today, the bidding culture is more complex due to factors such as government trade balances”
8 November 2011

Matt Dryden, Vice President of Business Development for AREVA, speaks to Nuclear Energy Insider on how the company is helping US plants address regulatory and operational conditions in a post-Fukushima marketplace in addition to D&D processes. He also touches on other topics including how the bidding culture in nuclear is no longer driven by technology and price, but many new and complex factors.

Interview by Katherine Steiner-Dicks

Nuclear Energy Insider: Which areas of the business are creating the largest business opportunities for AREVA in North America? Which do you see as the future growth segments and why?

MD: A major portion of our business continues to be products and services for operating plants, including fuel, outage support, plant upgrades and life extension activities. Operating plants are starting to install digital instrumentation and control systems—we recently finished the first installation of such a system in a U.S. plant and expect others to follow. We are also gearing up to support TVA’s project to complete the Bellefonte plant.

In the near future, we expect to help operating plants address regulatory and operational considerations as a result of analysis of the Fukushima event. And as the economy improves and energy consumption increases, new builds will start to come back into focus in the longer term.

Nuclear Energy Insider: There is a big opportunity and pending tender for South Africa to build up to six nuclear reactors. Plus the countless other tenders in the Middle East and parts of Asia. How has the competitive bidding culture changed in recent years and how have established firms such as AREVA had to adapt, if at all?

MD: In the past, purchasing decisions were typically based on technology and price. Today, the bidding culture is more complex—affected by factors such as the desire for increasing energy independence in some countries or government-to-government trade balance requirements.

As increasing numbers of countries are becoming more economically developed, their governments are placing trade balance requirements on major capital project deals; for example, customers may require that a significant percentage of parts and components be manufactured in their country or by their native companies. Some governments are also subsidizing nuclear suppliers from their countries to ensure growth opportunities for local technologies.

Others are trying to build an indigenous industry and require technology transfer agreements. Vendors have to adapt to this new culture by trying to understand the drivers behind each bidding opportunity and crafting a bid that meets the customer’s needs while ensuring an appropriate risk profile and return for themselves.

Nuclear Energy Insider: If you were in charge of an advertising campaign what message would you want to get across to the general population and to investors about nuclear energy’s contribution to daily needs?

MD: Nuclear power is not only the safest, cleanest, most economical, and most reliable baseload source of electricity available in today’s market place, the efficiency and safety of advanced technology makes it a preferred energy source for the future.

Nuclear Energy Insider: With a huge, yet currently uncertain, opportunity for long-term nuclear waste transport and storage in the U.S., how interested is AREVA in developing its presence in this segment as well as the larger decommissioning services market?

MD: AREVA has a long and successful business model for used nuclear fuel management. Our company currently transports, stores and recycles used fuel from customers around the world returning new fuel and stabilized high-level waste (HLW) back to the point of origin.

Over 50 percent of the used fuel dry storage casks in the United States are provided by AREVA. Based on our operating history we are very interested in supporting a sustainable U.S.-based strategy for managing HLW and the back end of the fuel cycle including transportation, consolidated interim storage in host countries(s), future recycling and ultimate waste disposal. We believe we have the experience, safety record and technology to support any future initiative.

AREVA has been managing and implementing major upgrades and large decommissioning and dismantling (D&D) projects for our nuclear facilities in Europe for decades. Our newly formed commercial D&D Business Unit is working to apply experience, lessons learned and new state of the art technology or processes to support the D&D missions in the United States.

Matt Dryden is Vice President of Business Development – Strategic Initiatives for AREVA, Inc. Matt is responsible for strategically positioning and providing linkage to AREVA’s entire North American Operations portfolio offering by actively engaging and aligning interests within both new and exisitng customer bases, governmental policy and financial communities.

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