Solvay and AREVA join their expertise in the development of new applications for thorium

Paris, Dec. 20 2013 – Solvay and AREVA have signed an agreement to develop new applications for the use of thorium, an element that is abundantly present in the earth’s crust and part of rare earth elements or uranium.

 The agreement aims to define the conditions that ensure the responsible management of thorium. It includes the deployment of an R&D program to study, among others, the use of thorium as a potential fuel in nuclear plants, as a complement to fuels using uranium and plutonium.

 Through the extraction of rare earth elements from Solvay and AREVA’s uranium extraction activities, both companies have inventories of thorium in France.

 “We are very pleased with this partnership which is perfectly in line with our sustainable development policy,” said Olivier Wantz, senior executive vice president of AREVA, Mining Business Group. “This will allow us to offer additional options within the nuclear cycle in the future.”

 The agreement highlights the companies’ commitment to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, said Xavier Houzard, executive vice president of environmental rehabilitation in charge of the development of thorium.

 “It should open the door to develop this element and provide new opportunities for collaboration,” he said.