NEWPORT NEWS, VA-Northrop Grumman and Bethesda, MD-based AREVA are developing a $360-million engineering and manufacturing facility here that will build heavy components for a nuclear reactor–AREVA’s US Evolutionary Power Reactor. The companies will be breaking ground at some point during the first half of next year, Margaret Mitchell-Jones from Northrop Grumman tells It will take roughly three years for the 300,000-sf, five-story facility to deliver.

The facility, called AREVA Newport News, will be the first full-scale manufacturing facility dedicated to supply heavy components, such as reactor vessels, steam generators and pressurizers to the US nuclear energy industry, the companies say. It will leverage Northrop Grumman’s nuclear shipbuilding engineering and manufacturing expertise as well as its existing transportation access via the James River to deliver heavy components.

AREVA has been manufacturing similar components at its Chalon/St. Marcel plant in France, for the last 30 years. The Newport News facility will mimic the Chalon’s design, a spokesman for AREVA tells “We believe it will enable us to build the Newport News facility more quickly and cost effectively. There are only a couple of facilities like this in the world,” he says. This was one of the reasons why Northrop Grumman decided to partner with the firm, he adds.

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